LeBron James has always talked about the importance of his LeBron James Family Foundation when he gathers them all together over the summer. This summer, James made a special announcement at his annual Family Foundation gathering.
The first message was about Tristan Thompson and the Cavs’ need to retain him. The second was about the kids in his ‘I Promise’ program who will get full college scholarships if they complete it with good test scores, attendance, and community service. This is big for the 200+ seventh graders who will be graduating in six years if they meet all of their requirements.
“It’s the reason I do what I do. These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there,” said James. “They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”
In total, there are 1,100 kids in his program, and if they all do all the necessary things to qualify, James would send each and every one of them to the University of Akron on a fully-paid, four-year scholarship. Right now, the cost of tuition in the university as well as its service fee is $9,500 per year, so sending each of those $1,100 kids to college for all four years would cost James’ foundation $41.8 million.
“It means so much because, as a kid growing up in the inner city and a lot of African-American kids, you don’t really think past high school,” said James. “You don’t really know your future. You hear high school all the time, and you graduate high school and then you never think past that because either it’s not possible or your family’s not financially stable to even be able to support a kid going to college.”
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Michele Campbell, the executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, talked about the program and even said that LeBron, who we all know grew up in a single-parent home with his mother Gloria, became noticeable emotional when he discussed the impact his program will have on the kids and their families.
“He has a chance to change their futures,” Campbell said. “Not everybody can be an NBA superstar, so to be able to provide the framework to make your dreams come true is overpowering.”