Birmingham nonprofit named a grantee of Jordan’s Black Community Initiative

Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 5:55 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - When the man many say is the world’s greatest basketball player turned 60, he gave gifts.

Those gifts were actually grants from The Jordan Brand, Michael Jordan’s clothing company. And to the delight of a self-described Jordan fan, one of those grants will go to the Birmingham Education Foundation.

“I think he’s the G.O.A.T” says Dr. Ashley Samuels, the Birmingham Education Foundation’s Executive Director. “You know, people can dispute me on that, but I think that, you know, Jordan is the G.O.A.T.”

Although the agreement with the Jordan Brand precludes her from disclosing the amount of the grant, Samuels says it is one of the largest donations the Birmingham Education, or Ed, Foundation has ever received and will be used to help stand up its Education Innovation Initiative.

The initiative seeks to help students succeed by addressing needs that schools cannot.

“It can be a need for food services, it can be a need for mental health services, but we don’t become the thing. What we do is we corral all of our partners together, and we serve in that con community connector space, a connecting Ms. Johnny Mae to those services that she needs as she raises her grandchildren, or, you know, that single parent that may need additional assistance with something that’s not academic.”

The money the foundation will get to build the program comes from the Jordan Brand’s Black Community Initiative - what the Jordan Brand’s website describes as a $10 million joint commitment involving Jordan and the Jordan Brand focused on pillars of change including education and economic justice seeking to give to those organizations ready to act.

Samuels explained some of the ways the foundation determines if its work is having an impact.

“For example, we have another project that we’re working on, and as a result of that project, we may see a decrease in out-of-school suspensions, or we may see a decrease in some of those office referrals and that sort of thing.”

While the grant is only for one year, during that period, Samuels suggests we might get used to seeing the iconic Jumpman logo when you see the foundation.

“It doesn’t just stop in terms of the funds and, and what’s happened,” she said. “We are now a Jordan brand grantee, and so we’re able to use that. They’ve provided us with a lot of the graphics and that sort of thing. So it’s really exciting that now we can use that as a stamp of approval, not just now, but moving forward.”

For more information about the Ed Foundation, visit

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.