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Magic Johnson to promote ‘Gary Promise’

Earv' Magic' Johnson

Earvin " Magic" Johnson

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If you go

What: A Gary Promise scholarship dinner

Who: Guest speaker Magic Johnson, NBA Hall of Famer

When: 6 p.m. April 28

Where: Gary Genesis Convention Center

Cost: $75 per ticket

For more information: 881-5481 or www.garycsc.k12.in.us

Updated: May 23, 2014 6:20AM



GARY — Legendary basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson is headlining a scholarship benefit dinner Monday to raise money for Gary Community School Corp. students.

Johnson, now a businessman who owns a company that runs the school district’s food service program, will speak at “A Gary Promise” at 6 p.m. Monday at the Genesis Convention Center, 5th Avenue and Broadway. There will also be a silent auction and entertainment.

School officials hope to sell 1,000 tickets at $75 per person. Tables are $750. The district is also lining up corporate sponsors willing to contribute $250 to $10,000. Tickets are available through the Gary Community School Corp. Service Center, 620 East 10th Place, or by calling 881-5481.

Students who fulfill Indiana Core 50 requirements with a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 will be eligible for the scholarships, school officials said. The scholarship fund will also support mentoring and enrichment programs, student leadership development training and career awareness projects at all grade levels.

Johnson’s company, SodexoMAGIC, received the food service contract last year. Johnson, a Michigan native and NBA Hall of Famer, agreed to appear in Gary as part of the contract.

Schools Supt. Cheryl Pruitt recommended Johnson’s company over a rival contractor, Chartwells, that Pruitt said lost money for the district. SodexoMAGIC also pledged to give the schools $270,000 as a guarantee if it didn’t make money.

Johnson promotes healthy eating habits for children through his businesses, and SodexoMAGIC offers similar “Promise” scholarship funds at school districts across the country.

Last week, school board member Nellie Moore questioned the wisdom of creating a separate entity, Gary Promise, to collect money when the school district already has a nonprofit foundation, the Gary Education Development Corp., that collects and distributes scholarship money to “C” students.

“Everything you’re saying has been already done,” Moore told school district officials. “It baffles me why we’d be competing with other funds that support students in this district.”

Moore said the Gary Promise fund could draw scrutiny from the State Board of Accounts when it audits the district. She said fundraising events need permission from the school board.

Pruitt said a recommendation will be made regarding board approval of procedures for the collection and distribution of Gary Promise funds.



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