My career with the NBA—both as a player and on the corporate side—is what is highlighted in the media most often. But if there’s one aspect of my life and work that is close to my heart, it’s the Future Foundation.
I started the Future Foundation in 2001 with my wife, Delicia, to provide resources and support to underserved youth on the south side of Fulton County, Georgia where I grew up. My sister, Qaadirah, runs the foundation and has for the last 15 years.
As a kid in East Point, Georgia, I was surrounded by violence, drug use, and a lack of exposure to possibilities beyond my environment. Thankfully, I was also surrounded by a lot of good—teachers and coaches who took an interest in me, as well as my parents who taught me a respect for God, an appreciation for education, and care for others.
I was aware then—and even more so as my career unfolded—that not all kids in my neighborhood were so lucky. Many didn’t have the level of family support I had, or involvement in an activity like basketball that provided ample opportunities to see beyond my community.
Future Foundation is my way of making sure more kids have that level of support and opportunity.
We aim to serve as a second family to our kids, helping them break out of the cycle of generational poverty. We provide programs that address the five things crucial to breaking that cycle: positive relationships, a healthy lifestyle, life skills, support for families, and strong academics. I believe that if underserved kids have more resources and access to these five areas, they’ve got a much better chance of becoming capable, courageous adults.
I’m thrilled to say it’s working!
Since 2001 we’ve helped over 20,000 families, and our programs are now in six school-based sites. Since 2007, 100% of our participating seniors have graduated from high school for the last 12 consecutive years—some at the top of their class!
Let’s keep the success going
To celebrate this amazing achievement, we’re hosting our fourth annual Keep it 100% Luncheon on March 20, 2019. Along with highlighting our excellent students and their perfect graduation rate, we’re also celebrating the corporate and philanthropic investors who have donated—and continue to donate—to the education of Atlanta’s resilient youth. Our goal for this year’s luncheon is to raise $300,000 to support our Foundation’s important work.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people who took a loving interest in me and my success when I was younger. That’s why it’s important that the Future Foundation continues to grow and continue its mission. It’s incredible what can happen when kids from humble beginnings are given seemingly small, yet profound opportunities—like going on a field trip, a college visit, or just having a conversation with someone outside the community. They all have the potential to plant a seed of curiosity and hope in a child, help them understand what they are truly capable of, and move them to pursue a positive, impactful life.
To learn more about the Future Foundation—and hear directly from kids whose lives have been impacted by its programs, watch this video.
Want to help?
We’re always looking for support to continue our mission! To donate to the Future Foundation, click here.