Reported by Robert Stitt
OneGoal Chicago is a nonprofit organization that trains teachers to guide high-school students for college and matches inner-city youth with the best teachers. The goal is to create mentorships that last through high school and the first year of college.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been a supporter of the organization for several years, but this year, he’s joining the national board. At a fundraising gala where he was an honoree, the former Los Angeles Lakers player and successful businessman made a significant contribution of $1 million to the organization.
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Sarah Berghorts, executive director of OneGoal Chicago, said of the surprise, “We knew he was going to announce he was joining our national board, but we had no idea he was going to make any gift, especially such a significant one.”
In true “Magic” fashion, Johnson told the crowd of 600 guests, “I need to make a commitment before I ask you to do it.”
According to Crain’s, big names in the crowd couldn’t wait to raise their hand to make their own donations—including four for $50,000 each. “You really felt the magic in the room,” said one guest.
The event raised more than $1.5 million, and organizers are still counting.
According to Black Enterprise, Johnson has made other contributions to help improve the lives of Chicago youth. One such example was a two-year, $10 million donation with Mark Walter of Guggenheim Partners to Inner City Youth Empowerment, a Chicago summer employment program, with the goal of providing 5,000 jobs for at-risk youth.
One of Johnson’s businesses, SodexoMagic, has been tied to an $80 million contract to provide custodial and building management services for Chicago public schools.
Johnson seems to have a huge heart when you consider the other charities and foundations he supports. Here are just a few, reported by Looktothestars: Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, Charity Folks, Keep a Child Alive, Ludacris Foundation, Magic Johnson Foundation, Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, and The Miami Project.
A lot of people are all talk. Magic Johnson, as the saying goes, “puts his money where his mouth is.” From helping at-risk or disadvantage youth to assisting those with educational issues or medical conditions, Johnson is truly doing what he can to make a difference.