Magic Johnson Joining Tom Gores and FlintNOW Foundation to Expand Education Opportunities for Kids in Flint

February 23, 2016 | Flint Now

Magic Johnson Joining Tom Gores and FlintNOW Foundation to Expand Education Opportunities for Kids in Flint

LOS ANGELES – February 23, 2016 – Tom Gores, Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity and owner of the Detroit Pistons, announced today that Earvin “Magic” Johnson is joining Gores’ FlintNOW campaign, which is providing private sector support for relief and revitalization efforts in Flint, Michigan.

The partnership will focus on education initiatives to benefit schools, children and families in Flint. Johnson has agreed to serve on a community advisory board being formed by the FlintNOW Foundation.

“Earvin is a long-time champion of children and education and we welcome his support,” Gores said. “He will be a real asset to our efforts focusing on both immediate and long-term educational needs in Flint.”

Gores and Johnson, both Michigan natives who graduated from Michigan State University, have a longstanding relationship and most recently worked together last year as part of a $1 million campaign for the Lansing Promise, a scholarship program offered to students in need that graduate from schools within the Lansing School District boundaries. There are several Promise Zones in Michigan and Gores said he and Johnson will explore the possibility of creating a Flint Promise Zone.

“Tom and I share a deep commitment to helping communities by investing in education and providing better opportunities for children and families,” Johnson said. “FlintNOW’s strategy recognizes that fixing the water alone won’t solve the long-term problems in Flint. Tom and his team understand that we need to do a lot more, and for us that starts with education. We can make a real difference in supporting schools with everything from early education to scholarships.”

Gores, a Flint native, last month pledged $10 million and operational support to help address the environmental, health, education and economic development crises in Flint. He created the FlintNOW Foundation and FlintNOW Fund as the cornerstone of that effort. Gores pledged both financial and intellectual capital to the effort, appointing Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem and Platinum Equity Partner Mark Barnhill to the effort. Both Tellem and Barnhill are members of the FlintNOW Board of Directors.

“The FlintNOW campaign is off to a fast start as we’ve already deployed $1.5 million in direct donations and many dedicated people like Magic are signing on to help,” said Barnhill. “We are quickly assembling a powerful coalition that is going to help address a broad range of needs. We have a lot of exciting news to come over the next several weeks.”

On January 29, Gores sent out personal donations totaling $1 million to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund, the United Way of Genesee County’s Flint Water Fund, and the American Red Cross. On February 5, the Detroit Pistons announced another $500,000 in donations from the club’s 15 players and key executives.

FlintNOW’s mission to help the people of Flint is guided by three core priorities:

  1. Provide immediate support for short-term relief efforts to ensure access to safe drinking water and infrastructure associated with volunteer programs, distribution of resources and other logistics.
  2. Provide funding for programs that help children, including healthy food and nutrition campaigns, as well as education and healthcare initiatives.
  3. Establish long-term support for economic development and revitalization initiatives in Flint and surrounding communities.

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