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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Magic Johnson Receives Third Annual USA TODAY Hollywood Hero Award

Magic Johnson with L.A. Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa

Magic Johnson recently received the the third annual USA TODAY Hollywood Hero Award in recognition of the work done by his Magic Johnson Foundation and his efforts to help underserved communities. Johnson firmly believes in opening businesses in urban areas and, as he put it in a May 2 Op-Ed piece in USA TODAY, redeveloping "underserved communities when few saw the value...Unfortunately, I can't say the same for much of corporate America when it comes to taking chances with underserved communities. Some see failure in the images of blighted cities with pothole-filled streets and scattered shops. But what if more businesses saw what I see--opportunity? Investment in these areas can create jobs, build the community and--yes--help a company's bottom line."

The Magic Johnson Foundation was established in 1991 shortly after Johnson found out that he was HIV positive. At first, the Foundation raised funds to help with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs but it since has expanded its mission to "focus on developing programs and supporting community-based organizations that address broader educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities." You can find out more about the Magic Johnson Foundation by clicking here.

If you are over 30 years old then you surely remember that fateful day--November 7, 1991--when Johnson said that he had "attained" the HIV virus, an announcement that at the time seemed to foreshadow a rapid decline leading to his death. Instead, Johnson has not only survived but he has thrived and become the face of HIV/AIDS awareness. Magic Johnson is a very inspirational success story not only because he won five championships and established himself as one of the greatest basketball players of all-time but because he has parlayed that success into creating a business and philanthropic empire that literally impacts the lives of thousands of people.

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posted by David Friedman @ 5:15 PM


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