michael jordan,

Michael Jordan poses with Michelle Fox-Massey and Sarah Norris, teachers at Hornets Nest Elementary School.

*Michael Jordan is providing teachers with funds to invent new teaching strategies at Hornets Nest Elementary School in the Charlotte area.

The Charlotte Hornets kicked off the fund with a $250,000 grant. 

Lowe’s and Fox Sports Carolinas/SportsSouth donated; Jordan plans to use his and his players popularity to get other corporations to donate.They plan to provide teachers at the school $70,000 a year in grants. Therefore, they can advance on innovative ways of teaching.

“This is just the start,” Jordan told the Charlotte Observer. “I think once people understand what we’re doing and the impact of it, I’m pretty sure we’ll get other people to join this fight. If you want to have an impact on tomorrow, you must start by helping teachers.”

During an event at Hornets Nest Elementary for the renaming of the team’s philanthropic arm to the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, Jordan announced Michelle Fox-Massey and Sarah Norris would be the first teachers to take advantage of the fund. 

Both ladies received $5,000.

Fox-Massey wants to provide the kids with an iPad library for the kids to be able to take them home for homework use.

“I thought I was going to pass out when they called my name,” said Fox-Massey, who is in her seventh year at Hornets Nest Elementary. “He is an icon. My husband and I have a poster of him on the wall at home.”

Kim Henderson, Charlotte Hornets Foundation executive director, said the foundation is good for North Carolina’s teachers. There are ongoing concerns over the low salaries in NC, which is 48th out of 50 states and District of Columbia on teachers’ salary scale.

“We all know the struggles with teacher compensation and challenges the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are facing,” Henderson said. “We (the Hornets) can’t do anything about the actual compensation for teachers, but we can give them the tools and resources they need in the classroom.”

It was the perfect time for Jordan to make public comments on the positive community reaction to his choice to retake the team original name from 1988 in Charlotte. The original Hornets moved in 2002 to New Orleans. They were replaced by the Bobcats in 2004.

“It lets me know that we did the right thing,” said Jordan. “I think the name is something the community considered itself owning. Support for the team was unparalleled when they first moved to Charlotte, and I think (the city) felt like they got robbed when the team moved. Now we’re giving them the name back, and we hope they again feel that connection.”

To top it all off, Jordan and the team gave 10,000 teachers thank you kits for their hard work and dedication.

“I never take the hugs for granted,” he said. “It’s inspirational. It’s easy to lose your focus on the community, and it’s good to have that reminder that what you’re doing matters.”