FedEx and the Magic Johnson Factor: These Giants Can Dance
Moving at the speed of need, NBA legend, businessman and philanthropist Earvin “Magic” Johnson is sending hundreds of kids to college; making computers accessible to the poor; offering free health screenings and awareness programs to communities across America, and giving FedEx kudos for being a part of the vision. Click on the video below to hear what Magic Johnson and his college scholars are saying about FedEx.
When it comes to Magic Johnson, many of us already know the stats: Three NBA MVP Awards; nine NBA Finals appearances; 12 All-Star games; 10 All-NBA First and Second team nominations; NBA’s all-time leader in average assists per game, and 1992 Olympic Dream Team gold champion. Most recently, he became one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers. But on a balmy Saturday morning in Los Angeles, Magic is on stage telling more than 300 college students and guests attending his 2012 Leadership Conference that they can beat the odds and have successful lives. Over the past decade, the Magic Johnson Foundation has awarded college scholarships to more than 400 economically-disadvantaged students.
Since 2009, FedEx has been a major sponsor of the program which includes five core components – scholarships, leadership development, mentorship, internships and technology support. Bill Margaritis, CVP of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations at FedEx Corporation, serves as internal champion for the initiative which is a part of the company’s focus on diversity and inclusion.
The program has a retention rate of more than 95 percent despite the challenging conditions many students have faced such as homelessness, financial setbacks, and health conditions. The average grade point average is 3.39. A unique aspect of the scholarship program is a strong sense of family and networking systems designed to ensure that no student falls behind academically or socially. Throughout the year, students and staff of the Magic Johnson Foundation share key information on collegiate and internship programs, scholarships, and consistently celebrate one another’s personal achievements. At the end of the school year, the students travel to Los Angeles for the annual summer leadership conference that includes five days of leadership training and career mentoring. During the conference, FedEx team members provide on-site mentoring and career coaching.
“FedEx supports the foundation not only through financial donations – they actually serve as mentors to our college scholars,” said Johnson. “Company leaders come to our leadership conferences and deliver career and personal guidance to our students. By doing so, they’re helping to shape future leaders.”
Several students also expressed their appreciation to Johnson and FedEx for supporting the program including Angela Donkor, a recent graduate of Boston College who received three achievement awards during the leadership conference. “Many organizations give scholarships to deserving students, but Mr. Johnson and FedEx do even more,” said Donkor. “They teach us lessons we’ll value for the rest of our lives. We are living examples of how Mr. Johnson and FedEx are making a difference.”
The leadership conference culminated with a graduation celebration for students in the program who’ve completed their college degrees in 2012. Magic Johnson served as keynote speaker and Rich Cocuzzo, FedEx Services VP of Sales, delivered a motivational message on behalf of the company. During a pre-event reception for the students and sponsors, Kelvin Golden, FedEx Express Ops Mgr., spoke to the students about career planning and development. Other FedEx participants included Crystal Oliver, FedEx Express MD of HR; Paul Rokich, FedEx Services Director of Sales; Janas Jackson, FedEx Services Program Advisor – Diversity; Vernice Hunt of FedEx Services Global Engagement & Events; Steve Hornstra, FedEx Express Hub Ops Mgr.; Joe Adams, FedEx Express Sr. Staffing Analyst; Sheree Spratt, FedEx Office HR Generalist; Terrance Bates, FedEx Express Station Ops Mgr., and Anita Clark, FedEx Express Hub Ops Mgr.
Established in 1991, the Magic Johnson Foundation works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health, and social needs of diverse urban communities. In addition to the Leadership Conference for college students, FedEx supports the Magic Johnson Community Empowerment Centers — facilities that provide computer access, training, and enrichment activities for youth and adults in 18 underserved urban communities in the U.S. Janice Person, FedEx Express MD II Assistant, recently organized a FedEx outreach effort in the Washington, D.C. area where volunteers collected and distributed school supplies and backpacks to hundreds of children via the Magic Johnson Empowerment Center in Bladensburg, MD.
In 2011, the Empowerment Centers provided enrichment programs for more than 245,000 disadvantaged youth. Additionally, the centers have enabled more than 1,500 youth and young adults to obtain GEDs and have helped to improve the academic performance of 6,000 youth. FedEx also support the Magic Johnson Holiday event for hundreds of disadvantaged children and their families.