Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James received the December NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente (No. 2 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) in recognition of his continuing work to create positive, long-lasting change in his hometown of Akron and throughout Northeast Ohio, the NBA announced on Jan. 31. The award recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.
Kaiser Permanente and the NBA are honoring James for providing educational resources and opportunities to improve the lives of children and families in Akron and the greater Cleveland area. During the holidays, he announced the creation of the I PROMISE School, a new Akron Public School opening in the fall of 2018 inspired by the LeBron James Family Foundation's I Promise program. The school will focus on educating children academically, socially and emotionally while providing comprehensive support and resources to each child's family, and serve as James' vehicle for creating change in his hometown through the power of education.
In December, James expanded on his Foundation's year-round support by surprising families of future I PROMISE School students with convenient access to critical healthcare services and other medical resources through a partnership with Crystal Clinic. James also hosted hundreds of his students for a private trip to the North Pole on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Polar Express, a continuation of the I PROMISE program's monthly experiential learning opportunities that he provides for every class throughout the school year. Additionally, he donated thousands of toys to kindergarteners and first- and second-graders across the Akron Public School system, and joined his teammates for the Cavaliers' annual visit to Cleveland Clinic Children's to spread holiday cheer to young patients and their families.
"To be able to support and create opportunities for the kids in Akron who are in danger of falling through the cracks means everything to me because I was one of those kids," said James. "I'm proud and excited to create a school and provide resources that will help these students earn an education that will change their lives and give them a better future."
Before the Cavaliers' home game against the Miami Heat tonight, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will present the award to James during an oncourt ceremony. In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 to the LeBron James Family Foundation.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. To learn more, visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.