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2009, August: Black Enterprise – Community Champion Award

July 16, 2009

The Jalen Rose Foundation (www.jalenrose.com/philanthropy.html) works to assist individuals and families in underserved communities and disaster-stricken areas here and abroad. But the emphasis is on helping young people in Rose’s hometown of Detroit. With this help, more than 30 high school students have received college scholarships of $10,000 each. The foundation also provides grants to nonprofit organizations that develop unique programs centered on sports and education. “Hope is the biggest thing that some of these kids have, and they need people willing to aid and push them,” says Rose, who started the foundation in 2000. “That gives them the fuel they need to excel.”

The foundation hit an important milestone in 2007, distributing more than $1million to charities, including a children’s hospital in the Congo as well as victims assistance programs for those still affected by Hurricane Katrina. Now a sports broadcaster and analyst for ESPN-ABC, Rose has an endowed scholarship at the University of Michigan, his alma mater.

Rose’s motivation stems from his own upbringing, the 36-year old credits his neighborhood programs such as the Police Athletic League and the Amateur Athletic Union, both of which kept him off the streets. Knowing firsthand the important role they play, Rose is focused on making sure his foundation adds to their number, noting, “These kids just need an opportunity.”

“It’s important to me to put kids in a position where they can be educated, because that’s something people can’t take away from them.”

-LaToya M. Smith (Page 77)