“It’s my life’s work,” Agassi on fighting on behalf of children.
In 1994, Andre Agassi started the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education to assist under-privileged youth in Las Vegas. As a teenager, Agassi left formal school behind to train full time, a sacrifice that has ultimately influenced his approach to philanthropy.
“I kind of felt trapped in my life, and the instinct and reaction to that I think is to dream about the day when you can take a child who feels this way and make them feel differently” – Andre Agassi
Early activities included building a shelter in Las Vegas for abused and neglected children, creating the Andre Agassi Boys and Girls Club, and developing Team Agassi, a tennis program that nurtures professional players and puts college within reach.
Agassi opened the first Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas in 2001. Since then, he has opened 38 more schools across the country and established a number of other programs to assist children through education and athletics.
“Every kid deserves the best education possible.” – Andre Agassi
Each year the Foundation’s primary fundraising vehicle, the Grand Slam for Children, brings together international stars to raise awareness and money. Since the inception of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education in 1994, $177 million dollars has been raised to benefit the mission of the Foundation, including $118 million from the Grand Slam for Children fundraising event.
Since retiring in 2006, Andre Agassi has increased his focus on his Foundation and on promoting education reform. And in June 2011, as part of an effort to expand his impact on education, Andre partnered with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors on an innovative new real estate fund – the Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund – to promote the success and growth of best-in-class charter schools in urban communities across the United States.
In early 2012, Andre launched BILT by Agassi & Reyes to provide the public with the actual fitness machines hand-developed by him and his strength and conditioning trainer, Gil Reyes. Andre won eight Grand Slam titles and dominated the world of tennis throughout his long career by recognizing the importance of strength, conditioning and safety through the use of these innovative machines.
The amount of money Agassi raised is enormous, but it is not what motivates him:
“I don’t function by taking stock of what we’ve achieved or the distance we’ve covered. It’s about moving forward, finding solutions and trying to give every child an opportunity.”
– Andre Agassi
The Good Men Project Sports’ Tuesday weekly feature, Doing It Right, highlights athletes who gives back and/or make a difference in our society.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Voxsports Voxer