‘Business as usual’ for LeBron James Family Foundation

By Sue Walton for crainscleveland.com

The King is headed to the West Coast, but “it’s business as usual” for the LeBron James Family Foundation, according to executive director Michele Campbell.

Campbell spoke to Crain’s in a short interview on Monday, July 2, a day after James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign a four-year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Akron native and NBA superstar created the foundation in 2004 and it has since grown from the basics — giving new bicycles to children — to an organization that will be opening its own school at the end of the month. All the while, its mission has been to help Akron’s most at-risk students reach academic success.

The next time the world will hear from James will be on Monday, July 30, Campbell said. That’s when he’ll be in Akron at the opening of I PROMISE School, a joint project between the foundation and the Akron Public Schools system. The school on West Market Street in Akron will welcome more than 240 third- and fourth-graders in an academic setting that will emphasize a STEM curriculum and a hands-on approach. The school also will offer wraparound services to students’ families. The goal is that by 2022 the school will house students in first through eighth grade.

The foundation’s I PROMISE network works with Akron students in several ways to help them stay in school. Those complete the program through graduation will receive scholarships to the University of Akron.

So, with “the kid from Akron” taking his day job to California, does the foundation expect an erosion in local support?

“Oh, my gosh, no,” Campbell said.

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