Chicago's where Derrick Rose was born and bred, and where he became the youngest Most Valuable Player in NBA history. Now, he's making a major commitment to helping the next generation of young Chicagoans make their own way in the world.
The three-time All-Star point guard is donating $1 million to After School Matters, a nonprofit dedicated to developing outside-of-school apprenticeship programs to help Chicago public high school students explore their passions for areas like the arts, sciences, sports and emerging technologies, with an eye toward developing skills for continuing education and future employment. The organization's efforts primarily benefit ethnic minority students living at or below the poverty line, according to a Bulls' statement announcing Rose's donation, and a cool million ought to do an awful lot to bolster those efforts:
“To have a strong community of people who believe in your potential can make all the difference in the world,” said Rose, a native of Englewood [...] “So many people have invested in me and I want to do the same for Chicago’s teens.” [...]
“My message to our kids is simple — you matter, you deserve every opportunity in life, and you can and should dream big because dreams can come true,” said Rose.
While the Bulls organization also supports After School Matters — team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf sits on the organization’s advisory board, and his son, Bulls president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf, sits on its board of directors — the $1 million gift will come directly from Rose, who is slated to make just under $18.9 million this season in the third year of the five-year maximum contract extension he signed back in December 2011. From Melissa Harris of the Chicago Tribune:
“He reached out,” said E. Robbie Robinson, the vice chairman of After School Matters, who announced the gift at the charity’s annual gala Tuesday evening. “There was a conversation around what would be the best way to build a relationship. He and his family concluded this is what they wanted to do and to make a big statement.”
While just how significant a difference ASM's programs make remains a matter of some debate, a million dollars does speak pretty loudly, all right.
Rose's contribution will be used to expand After School Matters' program offerings, which reach an estimated 15,000 Chicago teens each year, according to the Bulls' release.
"For Derrick, we know that issues affecting children are close to his heart," Michael Reinsdorf said. "And when you talk to him now about his young son, it is apparent that helping young people is something that resonates with Derrick in a new way as a father."
Earlier this year, Rose joined Bulls center Joakim Noah in a public service announcement launching a campaign aimed at reducing violence among Chicago's youth. There have been 304 homicides in the city in 2014 to date, according to RedEye Chicago's statistics. Eighty-four of the victims were ages 19 or younger.
“Derrick’s support of Chicago, particularly the care and concern he has for our teens, is an inspiration to anyone seeking to make this world a better place,” said Mellody Hobson, chair of the board of After School Matters, according to CSN Chicago.
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