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Education and Storytelling Are at the Center of Jordan Brand’s Next Grants for the Black Community

Roughly one year ago, Jordan Brand and Michael Jordan announced a plan to donate $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations that promote racial equality, social justice and greater access to education. Today, the NBA icon’s namesake label revealed the destinations for its next three multiyear grants.

The recipients include The National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will receive $3 million over three years. Also, Morehouse College and the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting will receive $1 million each over two years.

According to Jordan Brand, the recipients of the grants were chosen because of their ability to “shape the narrative of the Black experience in media and popular culture.” The work of the recipients that made them ideal candidates for the grants, Jordan Brand said, includes Black history education, improving the way Black stories are told, expanding sports journalism education and opportunities for HBCU students, and promoting leadership development among journalists and storytellers.

“Education is crucial for understanding the Black experience today,” Jordan said in a statement. “We want to help people understand the truth of our past, and help tell the stories that will shape our future.”

Jordan Brand president Craig Williams added, “We’ve seen this past year the impact of education and awareness on the issue of racism. When people understand what we’re fighting against, and the history behind it, we can better unite as a powerful force for change. I’m excited because these are the right partners to make sure we can own our narrative.”

Jordan Brand’s grant for The National Museum of African American History and Culture will go toward helping expand its Talking About Race web portal and Let’s Talk speaker series.

“At the museum, we tell stories that are complex and meaningful, stories that have often been silenced from our past,” National Museum of African American History and Culture director Kevin Young said in a statement. “More than ever, we need those stories to highlight and emphasize the centrality of the African American experience to our nation’s history and healing.”

For Morehouse College, the grant will help the institution expand its journalism and sports marketing course offering, as well as provide scholarships, digital media lab enhancements and stipends to support journalistic work. “These grants will be well-spent,” film director Morehouse College graduate Spike Lee said in a statement. “There’s going to be a rich legacy of storytellers who will be supported by these programs. Many people are influenced to think a certain way about Black folks based on what they see on television and in Hollywood. We’ve got to tell our story.”

The grant for the Ida B. Wells Society will fund opportunities for high school and college students involved in investigative reporting and provide professional development programs for investigative reporters with the needs of reporters of color in mind. “Investigative reporting is the most important reporting in our democracy,” journalist and Ida B. Wells Society co-founder of the Nikole Hannah-Jones said in a statement. “It’s the reporting that holds power accountable, that unearths the way it’s wielded, tells the stories that people don’t want told. That same reporting needs to be reflective of our country’s demographics.”

In June 2020, the basketball legend and Jordan Brand announced its 10-year, $100 million donation plan. “We must join forces with the community, government and civic leaders to create a lasting impact together,” Williams said via statement at the time. “There is still more work for us to do to drive real impact for the Black Community. We embrace the responsibility.”

A month later, the first three partners to receive donations were announced. The recipients included the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., which received $1 million; Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families Movement, which received $1 million; and Black Voters Matter, which received $500,000.

In September 2020, Jordan Brand revealed another equal opportunity and justice-focused initiative dubbed Jordan Real Talk, which is a series of conversations hosted by Angela Rye that will be focused on education and awareness. Jordan Real Talk, according to the brand, was created to encourage people to engage in actions such as voting, community involvement and economic and social justice reform advocacy.

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