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June 24, 2008

Former Fab Five star Jalen Rose now a vessel for hope – He pursues charitable interests

October 15, 2007 — It's rare — ask anyone who knows him — but Jalen Rose didn't want to talk.

The Jalen Rose Foundation recently surpassed $1 million in charitable donations since it began in 2000, yet Rose wanted the number to speak for itself.

"Charity is from the heart at the end of the day," said Rose, the NBA veteran who spoke reluctantly but proudly. "It's not something you do and talk about. But if it's going to allow other young NBA athletes and other entertainers to be better Samaritans, and business leaders and people with corporations to help, then I have a vested interest."
Rose's foundation was established more than seven years ago, when he finally had a chance to reflect on his privileged lifestyle and recall his roots.

Growing up on Detroit's west side in a single-parent family, Rose had little money and his athletic ability was his escape. It made him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams — basketball-reference.com estimates that he's made more than $100 million in salary alone — and gave him a college education at Michigan.

While he wasn't going to hand out money, one aspect of the foundation could be to fund five $10,000 scholarships to students from Detroit, one of whom would attend the University of Michigan.

That's how Happi LaTova Williams met Rose, when she was awarded the U-M scholarship in 2004. Though she had never heard of Rose — "I'm not a big sports follower," she said — she'll never forget him.

"He took us out to dinner at Sweet Georgia Brown, all five (recipients) and our family, and said we could have whatever we wanted and we were interviewed by Fox television," said Williams, now a senior at U-M's School of Art and Design. "He presented us with jerseys and plaques."

Rose's foundation also has assisted a children's hospital in Africa, donated following international crises like Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Asia, has a ticket section for underprivileged kids at NBA games and donates to the Boys and Girls Club based on his assist total for the season.

"After meeting him, it was just a part of who he is, he had the same struggles as many of us growing up in Detroit," Williams said.

Rose is extremely active in the foundation, reviewing the scholarship applications, meeting with donors and contributing more than his money and name.

"At the end of the day, being a kid born and raised in Detroit, I understand the graduation rate of 50-60% has a lot to do with them not going to class, because some of those kids obviously don't have the hope to go to college if they don't have the grades to get a scholarship," Rose said. "The middle class has filtered down and the jobs from when I grew up, when people had blue collar jobs, are now not high-paying jobs. Education is a premium. I'm just a vessel."

This is becoming a greater part of his life. Six years ago, he decided he could expand his ambition off the court as well and has become a respected television analyst, having done work during the playoffs from TNT, MSNBC and ESPN.

Currently, Rose is a basketball and media free agent and trying to ponder what to do this season. After 13 years in the NBA, he said he could probably get a one-year NBA contract or a multi-year deal with a network, possibly ESPN, but hasn't decided yet.

"I still have some tread on these tires," Rose said. "I continue to stay in shape and if the right opportunity comes, I'll listen. At the same time, I'm so blessed to have another career. I'm the Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson of broadcasting and basketball."

The experience has been educational for Rose.

After a life of luxury in the NBA with skills he's had his whole life, his post-basketball reality has been a bit more challenging.

"I've definitely improved (on camera) and it takes a lot of hard work," Rose said. "It's not like traveling with the team on a private plane, buses and things. I've got to get there hours before the event, be there after every player showers, be knowledgeable about each gym and know the individuals I speak about. That was my major at Michigan, mass communication."

Rose, who lives in Orchard Lake, sees his profile and ability to help others as an example of hope.

"It's because I'm a product of the Detroit Public School system and apparently things have to get worse before they get better," he said. "I'm now hopeful they're as bad as they're going to get. We need one voice, one vessel, and there are a lot of athletes in Detroit helping. Chris Webber has a foundation, Derrick Coleman, Braylon Edwards and Jerome Bettis. Hopefully we will spark a lot of business and industry. There's a lot that can be done to give our youth hope."


NBA Athlete Challenges Corporations & Community Leaders to Give Back

DETROIT, MI (October 2, 2007) — The Giving Back Fund today announced The Jalen Rose Foundation (www.jalenrosefoundation.org), has distributed more than $1 million in charitable donations since its 2000 inception. The Jalen Rose foundation places an emphasis on distributing grants for sports and education related causes. Notable donations from The Jalen Rose Foundation include an endowed scholarship at the University of Michigan, contributions to the development of a children's hospital in Africa, as well as donations to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami disaster.

"Growing up as a child in a single parent home, my family faced a lot of hardships," says Detroit native and NBA star Jalen Rose. "It's important that people with influential roles in society take the initiative to help others in need. I hope that my charity efforts motivate others to get more actively involved in their communities."

"Jalen's charitable efforts have been extraordinary. He simply "gets it"", noted Giving Back Fund President Marc Pollick. "Jalen realizes the power he has as an athlete-role model and has used it to passionately pursue his philanthropic mission. What a great ambassador for the NBA and professional sports in general."

Every year, The Jalen Rose Foundation awards five Detroit high school seniors a $10,000 college scholarship to help them achieve their college dreams. Jalen, who attended Detroit Southwestern High School, designates a minimum of one scholarship to a deserving student from his alma mater. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement and goals, extracurricular & community activities and financial need. This year the Foundation received more than 250 applications –many of them extraordinary– for the five available scholarships prompting Rose to challenge community leaders.

"There are thousands of students in the Detroit area who want the opportunity to attend college, but simply can't afford it," continues Rose. "I can't help everyone, so this is a call to action for corporations, business executives, politicians, and others in a position to help children in the Detroit area. Please contact my foundation or some other nonprofit in the community and support college education for our kids. They are our future."

Approximately 40 Detroit Public schools have been closed over the past 2 years and the latest graduation statistics for the Detroit Public Schools show the graduation rate under 68% (June 2005).

The Giving Back Fund is proud of the numerous accolades The Jalen Rose Foundation has earned during their partnership. In 2006, the Foundation was recognized by Overtime Magazine as one of the Top 25 Sports Foundations. In 2005, Black Enterprise Magazine recognized Rose as one of the most charitable African Americans in the country. In 2003, the Professional Basketball Writers Association named Rose the Magic Johnson Award Winner in part for his foundation work. In addition to these accolades, Rose has been named a Sporting News Good Guy numerous times as well as recognized by the NBA with their Community Assist Award on two separate occasions.

About the Jalen Rose Foundation:
The Jalen Rose Foundation was established by NBA star Jalen Rose to create life-changing opportunities for underserved youth through the development of unique programs and the distribution of grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. Grants focus on sports and education and are distributed in Jalen's hometown of Detroit as well as his current NBA home.

For more information, visit: www.jalenrose.com or www.jalenrosefoundation.org.

About the Giving Back Fund:
The Giving Back Fund is a national non-profit organization with offices in Boston and Los Angeles dedicated to increasing philanthropy in the world through bold and innovative programs and initiatives. The Giving Back Fund offers professional foundation management and strategic philanthropic consulting and advisory services aimed at leveraging celebrity and wealth on behalf of philanthropy. Acclaimed for its expertise in celebrity philanthropy, The Giving Back Fund?s services are available to anyone with a sincere and passionate interest in giving back.

For more information please visit www.givingback.org.