Derrick Rose is Chicago.
He was born there, raised there and now works there.
In a city where too many go down dead-end paths, Rose is a true success story. It’s not about basketball specifically. It’s about persevering in a difficult environment. No matter how much criticism he’s faced in recent years, nobody can take that from him.
And now he’s helping other Chicago youth have a chance to follow in his footsteps.
Rose is donating $1-million to After School Matters, a Chicago-based non-profit organization devoted to providing innovative out-of-school programs for teenagers. The teen population that After School Matters serves is almost entirely minority and living at or below the poverty level.
“To have a strong community of people who believe in your potential can make all the difference in the world,” said Rose, a native of Englewood, who is a point guard for the Chicago Bulls. “So many people have invested in me and I want to do the same for Chicago’s teens.”
The funds will be used to drive the growth of unique programming experiences for teenagers throughout the city in the arts, communications, science, sports and technology. Participants develop critical life skills to help them prepare for work, college and beyond. Last year the organization created thousands of opportunities for teens, all with stipends attached, according to E. Robbie Robinson, Vice Chair of After School Matters Board of Directors, Co-Chair of the organization’s 2014 Annual Gala, and a Managing Director at Chicago-based BDT & Company.
“Derrick’s significant contribution is making a tremendous statement to Chicago that our teens do matter,” said Robinson. “We are grateful for Derrick’s generosity, as we work hard to provide a safe and productive environment for teens to learn and explore their interests outside of the classroom. We look forward to partnering with Derrick and the Rose family to continue to expand our programs and reach even more of teens for many years to come.”
“My message to our kids is simple – you matter, you deserve every opportunity in life, and you can and should dream big because dreams can come true,” said Rose.
This is just great – a significant contribution from someone positioned to make a difference. Clearly, Rose has not forgotten where he came from.