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The Voice of the Black Community

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Hornets' helping hand for education
Grant funds CMS teacher initiative
 
Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:37 am
by Herbert L. White

The Charlotte Hornets are swarming for community service.

PHOTO/CHARLOTTE HORNETS
Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan places his handprints in cement at Hornets Nest Elementary School as part of the first community initiative of the Charlotte Hornets Foundation. Jordan, along with executives and staff from the Hornets, Fox Sports Carolinas/SportSouth and Lowe’s, participated in various beautification and refurbishment projects as part of the Day of Service event.


The NBA franchise, led by Chairman Michael Jordan, made a $250,000 grant to the Teacher Innovation Fund on Monday at Hornets Nest Elementary School as part of the Hornets’ first community service initiative. Broadcast partner SportSouth and Lowe’s contributed to the fund, which empowers teachers to implement education strategies.


“Everything we do we focus on giving back to the community,” Hornets owner Michael Jordan said. “This is just an unbelievable start with the name change we’ve just gone through and obviously coming here to the Hornets Nest Elementary School is a good starting point.”


In addition to the donation, the three organizations surprised Hornets Nest Elementary teachers Michelle Fox-Massey and Sarah Norris with $5,000 grants from the fund and volunteers from the Hornets, SportSouth and Lowe’s pitched in on beautification and refurbishment projects while also delivering Thank You kits to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ 9,600 teachers.


“I think it makes a really big statement about what we’re trying to do,” Jordan said.


The Hornets also announced the re-branding of the franchise’s charitable arm as the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, which focuses on education, hunger and wellness programs.
“We have a new name, but our foundation’s pillars remain the same,” Hornets President and Chief Operating Officer Fred Whitfield said.


The Hornets and SportSouth have contributed nearly $1 million to charities since 2010, including $250,000 each to CMS middle school sports, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Last year, they donated $200,000 to sponsor Y Achievers, a joint venture between YMCA of Greater Charlotte and CMS.


The Hornets and Lowe’s launched the re-branded Book Bus, which travels year-round throughout Charlotte to encourage reading and distributes books to young readers. Last year, the Book Bus traveled more than 2,200 miles to distribute nearly 4,000 books across Mecklenburg. The Hornets and Lowe’s also make $50,000 in educational grants annually to local non-profits.   

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