NBA legend Michael Jordan's pledge came hours after Nike announced its own "Commitment to the Black Community" initiative, an additional $40 million pledge to communities from the Nike, Jordan and Converse brands over the next four years. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo
June 5 (UPI) -- NBA legend Michael Jordan's Jordan Brand has pledged $100 million over the next 10 years to organizations across the country that are "dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education."
"The Jordan Brand is us, the black community," read a joint statement from Jordan and his company, which is a subsidiary of Nike. "Jordan Brand is more than one man. It has always been a family. We represent a proud family that has overcome obstacles, fought against discrimination in communities worldwide and that works every day to erase the stain of racism and the damage of injustice.
"Black lives matter. This isn't a controversial statement. Until the ingrained racism that allows our country's institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of black people."
In the statement, Jordan Brand said it will increase its work in communities across the United States to provide financial support and access to education, while also taking on a larger role in supporting organizations that work to impact policy change in local government.
"We must join forces with the community, government and civic leaders to create a lasting impact together," Jordan Brand president Craig Williams said Friday. "There is still more work for us to do to drive real impact for the black community. We embrace the responsibility."
The Jordan Brand's pledge came hours after Nike announced its own $40 million commitment over the next four years to support the black community in the U.S.
The commitment, on behalf of the Nike, Jordan and Converse brands collectively, will be "focused on investing in and supporting organizations that put social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America at the center of their work."
"Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society," Nike president and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement Friday.
Nike previously revealed a "For Once, Don't Do It" video four days after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died while in police custody last week in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Four police officers were fired because of the incident, and Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pinning Floyd to the ground, an action that was caught on a widely viewed video.
On Wednesday, Minnesota authorities escalated the murder charge against Chauvin to second degree and levied charges against the other three officers involved in the arrest and death of Floyd.
Jordan Brand, which launched in 1997 during Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls, has a history of philanthropy. Since 2015, its Wings Scholars Program has provided college scholarships to more than 1,800 students from disadvantaged backgrounds in North America and China.
Over the past year, the company has promoted a "Unite" campaign, which is centered around celebrating global backgrounds and connectivity through sports.