November 01, 2018
Portland Innovation Gets Assist From Basketball Legend Michael Jordan
A big win for youth mentoring.
A Letter from Executive Director, Pietro Ferrari
25 years ago, Friends of the Children–Portland embarked on a new model for changing the lives of our community’s highest-priority youth. Today, that model received the support of basketball legend Michael Jordan.
Jordan announced today that he is making a multimillion-dollar investment in Friends of the Children's national expansion campaign, and their work to bring professional mentoring to the Charlotte and Chicago communities. This significant investment is key in helping them reach their ambitious goal of expanding the Portland innovation into 25 cities by 2025.
As the Executive Director of Friends of the Children–Portland, I want to share my excitement for this amazing news from our national organization and what it means for children across the country. I also want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of our incredible supporters for believing and investing in the idea that a single, committed and caring adult can change a child’s life. What you helped start here in Portland is now being recognized as a game-changer for thousands of children across the United States who grow up in abject poverty and face acute adversities that prevent them from becoming thriving adults.
Michael Jordan shared in the announcement, “What stood out to me about Friends of the Children was that they employ and train their mentors and that they commit to every child for 12½ years. That dedication is important to me. My mentors believed in me and taught me the power of perseverance. I want youth in Friends of the Children to see that they have that same potential.”
What this endorsement also recognizes is the need that continues to exist among our children and the importance of battling that need with everything we’ve got. Each year, countless children enter kindergarten, experiencing trauma and systemic barriers extreme enough to qualify them for the Friends program.
We encourage you to join Michael Jordan’s support of other chapters by supporting our youth locally. As of now, we have made our 12+ year promise to over 500 youth across 120 schools in the Portland and SW Washington area. That translates to over 7,500 hours per month of enriching interactions and goal-oriented skill building from salaried, professional mentors, guaranteed to establish a foundation for lifelong success.
Together, we can truly make a difference in the Portland and SW Washington area by continuing to support the youth in our community who need us the most.