PORTLAND, Ore. - Basketball legend Michael Jordan has selected Friends of the Children as a beneficiary of The Last Dance, an ESPN and Netflix 10-part documentary series on Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' quest for a sixth championship in 1998 premiering on Sunday, April 19. Jordan has been investing in Friends of the Children since 2018.
"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," said Jordan. "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."
Shortly after learning about the organization in early 2018, Jordan donated proceeds of three special-edition Nike Michael Jordan Bulls jerseys to Friends of the Children. In November of 2018, Jordan made a multimillion-dollar investment in the organization with a donation from earnings from the documentary. This allowed the organization to serve more youth and families across the country, including youth in Chicago, Charlotte, Tampa Bay, New York City and Los Angeles. The funds also supported the expansion to seven new locations, including Detroit and Salt Lake City.
"Friends of the Children is honored to be chosen by Michael Jordan as a beneficiary of proceeds from The Last Dance," said Terri Sorensen, CEO of Friends of the Children. "He understands the power of having a consistent, caring adult in a child's life who can serve as a role model. His support has directly benefited youth in our program so they can achieve their hopes and dreams, just like he did."
Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit that selects and invites youth – all of whom have unique talents, interests and dreams and also face multiple systemic obstacles – to be paired with a paid, professional mentor called a Friend. The organization hires and trains Friends whose full-time jobs are to support our youth from as early as age 4 through high school graduation – 12+ years, no matter what.
Knowing how his mentors shaped his life, Jordan saw the life-changing potential that youth could find through Friends of the Children. A philanthropist who believes in impact investing, Jordan saw their evidence-based model as an innovative social investment.
The Last Dance will begin airing on ESPN on Sunday, April 19, and includes never-before-seen footage. ESPN will show two back-to-back one-hour episodes every Sunday for five weeks at 6 and 7 p.m. PT/9 and 10 p.m. ET. For international viewers, episodes will be available on Netflix on Mondays from April 20 through May 18.