Throughout history, only a few men and women have gained respectable greatness. Of course many have different opinions on what makes a person truly great. But for whatever it is worth, a great person really does not achieve greatness for the bragging rights. Take the simple sport of basketball, for example. The official NBA website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” His record speaks for itself, and not just the 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls. Again, there are those who contend that there may be greater players around, specifically pointing to Lebron James. But let’s not limit Michael Jordan’s greatness to just basketball. For those who do not know, Jordan is also a philanthropist.
Before we go deeper into that, let us point out that philanthropy is different from charity. Charity is a natural, emotional impulse to an immediate situation, and is usually short term. On the other hand, philanthropy addresses the root cause of social problems and requires a more strategic long-term approach. It is more than just giving or donating…it is an advocacy.
NBA legend and superstar Michael Jordan is involved in big philanthropic activities in his hometown community of Wilmington, North Carolina. He has donated $10 million to open a new pair of new health clinics to service the uninsured, and poor members of the community. This was announced a few days ago by the nonprofit healthcare group Novant Health Clinics. But Jordan has been working with the nonprofit group for some time now. In 2017, he donated $7 million to open two Novant Health Micheal Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In a press release, Jordan said, “I am very proud to once again partner with Novant Health to expand the Family Clinic model to bring better access to critical medical services in my hometown.” He further stated, “ Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance. Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life.”
A lot of North Carolinians remember his donation of $2 million after Hurricane Florence devastated parts of North Carolina, including his hometown of Wilmington. He also donated $1 million to aid the recovery of the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
The latest philanthropic move brings the number of clinics Jordan helped establish to four. The first two in Charlotte brought much needed access to primary and preventive care to low-income residents. Jordan was quoted as saying during the opening of the first clinic, “It’s a very emotional thing for me to be able to give back to a community that supported me over the years.” A year later, when the 2nd clinic opened, he expressed his family’s, “great pride to know that we are making a difference in Charlotte.” Jordan continued by saying, “we’ve been dealt with some very difficult cards in 2020…I hope 2021 is going to be much better.”
The Charlotte clinics have treated over 4,500 patients, and also provides for crucial assistance during the ongoing pandemic. The company Novant Health said, “The regional health care system and Jordan previously partnered to open two Michael Jordan Family Clinics in Charlotte, N.C., bringing comprehensive primary care, including behavioral health and social support services, to the area’s most vulnerable communities.” They continued, “ Jordan’s gift will help Novant Health bring this same integrated care model to more rural and rural-adjacent communities in his hometown, offering much needed services to those who are uninsured or underinsured. The two new clinics are slated to open in early 2022.”
The 2 Charlotte clinics have administered about 1,000 vaccines for the disease so far. Plans to increase the services are in place for the coming weeks. Novant president and CEO Carl Armato, said, “This pandemic has exacerbated health equity gaps across our state, making our efforts to close them even more emergent. We look forward to standing these clinics up as quickly as possible to ensure all members of the community have access to necessary medical care.”
This announcement came just a day after the historic Daytona 500, where the NBA legend and owner of the Charlotte Hornets made history as the first black principal owner in NASCAR in a half-century…and with driver Bubba Wallace, the only black full time driver in the circuit. Jordan is an avid enthusiast of NASCAR, and is worth about $1.6 billion according to Forbes.
This great man has done a lot as a philanthropist, including announcing that he and his brand will donate $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations dedicated to “ensuring racial equality, social justice, and greater access to education.” This came after the wake of protests following the killing of George Floyd.
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