DETROIT – Earlier this summer, Jalen Rose walked the hallways with students at the school that bears his name as the youths shared goals and aspirations for the upcoming school year.
The visit to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy came roughly a month after Rose presided over graduation ceremonies for the school’s ninth senior class.
Before his session with students, Rose, who starred as a point guard at now-closed Detroit Southwestern before going on to stardom at the University of Michigan and in the NBA, revealed a major reason he decided to found a school in the neighborhood where he grew up.
“Each school that I attended growing up is closed,” Rose said. “It’s important to me that our young people are in position to chase their dreams, to chase their goals, to get out of their comfort zone, to know that they’re loved, to know that they’re supported, to know that it’s OK to have a bad day, to know that we’re going to love you.”
Platinum Equity and CEO Tom Gores will celebrate 10 years as the JRLA Celebrity Golf Classic’s presenting sponsor on Aug. 21.
“The Platinum Equity relationship is one of love,” Rose said. “Tom Gores is like a brother to me, and that relationship has grown over more than 10 years. As I got to know Tom Gores and spend time with him, spend time with his kids, spend time with his family, suddenly, my thoughts, his thoughts, we were aligned. The dreams that we have for young people were aligned, and that made it easy.
“Now we have a track record of influencing 400 currently in high school and another 900 graduates. I’m just grateful that Tom Gores is right by my side and willing to help take this to the next level. That’s way bigger than JRLA.”
Located in northwest Detroit, JRLA is an open enrollment, tuition-free, public charter high school co-founded by Rose. After opening in September 2011, the school says 97 percent of enrollees have graduated, and 100 percent of graduates have either been accepted into college or other post-secondary options.
The golf event has become the school’s top fundraiser that raises funds for a variety of educational necessities.
On the day following last year’s golf outing, Platinum Equity sponsored a mentorship breakfast at the Detroit Pistons Performance Center featuring a tour of the facility and a panel discussion led by Platinum Equity and Pistons executives. Earlier this year, Platinum Equity invited JRLA students to a Pistons game. There are plans to grow the mentorship relationship.
“Platinum has proudly supported JRLA for many years, but we wanted to get closer to the students and directly support them by sharing our experiences and lessons learned,” Platinum Principal Katie McNaughton said after last year’s event. “I know for myself and many of us at Platinum, relationships and mentors helped get us where we are today. Tom is a huge advocate of mentoring so we thought that it was time to connect with the students on a personal level, share what we’ve learned and get to know them and hopefully add value as they map out their career paths.”