SAGINAW (WJRT) (11/06/19) - Former Spartan and L.A. Laker, Magic Johnson has become the most powerful African-American businessman worldwide.
On Wednesday, he returned to his home state to keep a promise he made with Saginaw, so students who live there can attend college.
The Saginaw Promise has awarded over $800,000 dollars to almost 500 students.
During his speech, Johnson pulled six of those students on stage and told them to believe in their dreams, no matter the cost.
"Just because you grow up poor, don't mean you have to have poor dreams," Johnson said.
Johnson attended the Power of a Promise II fundraiser on Wednesday evening. The Saginaw Promise offers last-dollar scholarships to Saginaw students because it's difficult to dream if they're worried about the funds.
"That's what it's all about. Giving these young people a chance to go on and chase their dreams, and I'm so happy that we all have come together in supporting all these young people," Johnson said.
It all started with Johnson. The basketball legend helped raise the original funds for the first scholarship dollars back in 2012.
The scholarship is $1,000 per semester for up to two years. One of the recipients, Isabella Dean, attended culinary school, and says it helped pay for supplies and uniforms. More importantly, she feels The Saginaw Promise valued her postsecondary education, even after graduating from culinary school.
"It's really fulfilling to know that the place that's helping me go to college cares about what happens to me after college. It just shows you how genuine this program is and how much they care about giving back to our community," Dean said.
Dean says she now has a little college debt and a full-time job in a field that she actually went to school for, which she says is more rare nowadays.
"I think that if I hadn't got the Saginaw Promise Scholarship, I wouldn't have been as eager to go to college. Maybe I would've waited a year to go to college, and I know a lot of people feel the same way," Dean said.
The Saginaw Promise will offer scholarships for spring and summer semesters beginning with their 2019-20 scholars.
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