Jalen Rose, the philanthropist

This is courtesy of an article a few days ago by USA Today. The article can be found here.

Jalen Rose of the Toronto Raptors is the only athlete listed among Black Enterprise magazine’s top 15 black philanthropists. His charitable efforts include five annual $10,000 college scholarships to seniors in Detroit’s public school system. Rose, who has 15 students in college at his expense, talked with USA TODAY NBA reporter Roscoe Nance about the 5-year-old program, which is funded through the Jalen Rose Foundation.

Q. How did you come up with the idea?

A. Just following Magic Johnson. He was the one guy who, as a philanthropist and an athlete, always did something above and beyond what everybody else was doing. It’s good to have basketball camps and do all of that kind of stuff. But you really have an impact on society when you help kids go to school. I played in his all-star game a couple of years and just hearing the number of kids he’s helping go to school really touched me.

Q. How have the kids responded?

A. They’re really excited about it. They appreciate the care and concern. There are a lot of kids out there going through hardships that are still trying to do the right thing. Some kids grow up in poverty. Some kids grow up in parentless homes. Some kids have to take care of their little brothers and sisters because their parents are on drugs. Some kids have to work two and three jobs. Yet they find a way to go to school every day and make good grades.

Q. Do you personally review the applications?

A. We get so many applicants … 500 to 1,000. I don’t literally read each and every one, but I do read 75% of them. The reason I do that is because I want to carefully select legitimate winners.

Q. And you follow the recipients through college?

A. I stay in contact with them. They e-mail when things are going good and when things are going bad. They follow me as a player, but they are also proud to be a Jalen Rose scholarship recipient. They take pride in it, and I take pride in it.

Q. What motivates you to do more than simply write a check?

A. The one thing I’ve learned about philanthropy is that it comes from the heart. It’s not necessarily doing what the next man does. It’s creating your own path to do what you can to give back.

Q. The recipients can go to any college?

A. Some want to go to schools down South. Some want to go to school right there in Michigan. I don’t try to pick and choose where they go. On the application, they tell me where they’re planning on going and where their college experience will take them. I just try to help them get there.

Thanks for being a classy guy, Jalen.