AKRON, OH – Home to the one-of-a-kind I Promise School initiated by a partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools, the I Promise complex is ready for the next big phase of their innovative learning model. The LeBron James Family Foundation has been working with the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation or EANDC to develop affordable housing for families.
This new phase of the I Promise Network will offer housing with affordable rent expected to range from $350 to $850. Families qualifying to live in the complex will be those earning 30% to 60% of Akron’s median household income of between $11,259 to $22,519, according to data reported by cleveland.com.
Anyone can apply to live at the property but according to the EANDC, they will give preference to families with students attending the I Promise School.
I Promise School’s mission is “to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives”, according to their website. The school accepts students who are delayed in key academic areas or have troubled home lives and considered at-risk youth to foster them through the education process for a better future. The vision was brought about from LeBron James’ own struggles while growing up in the Rubber City.
As reported by ESPN, James moved four times in the fourth grade and missed nearly 100 days of school. His father figure was imprisoned, his mother was jobless, and they were living on his mom’s friend’s couch in her one-bedroom apartment.
Needless to say, this environment was not the ideal growth environment for a young, developing boy. James’ mission is to offer stability and community guidance for Akron’s youth, like the support he received after a difficult time in his life that helped him achieve such success.
Students at the I Promise school receive free tuition, uniforms, a bicycle and helmet, transportation within two miles, breakfast lunch and dinner, a food pantry for their families, GED and job placement services for parents, and guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for every student that graduates and completes the criteria (LJFF).
“If a student doesn’t need to worry about where their next meal is coming from, or where they lay their head at night, if they don’t have to worry about basic survival, then they do have a real opportunity to thrive in an educational setting.”
The Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters is proud to have worked on the first phase of this project in building key aspects of the I Promise Campus. IKORCC worked tirelessly to secure the work for our carpenters in this next phase. By supporting one of our signatory minority contractors, we have guaranteed this work will be completed using local union carpenters. The EANDC understands that using union carpenters is an investment, in not only local workers but in Akron as a whole.
On September 29th, 2021, the EANDC held a groundbreaking ceremony to highlight their key partners in the funding and the eventual completion of this housing project. One of the key speakers, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, a former area teacher said, “If a student doesn’t need to worry about where their next meal is coming from, or where they lay their head at night, if they don’t have to worry about basic survival, then they do have a real opportunity to thrive in an educational setting.”
Work on the project is expected to begin in the coming weeks and should be completed by the fall of 2022. Up to 50 families will be able to live in the newly constructed units. The EANDC and LeBron James Family Foundation announced their plans to work on single-family homes to build their own equity with homeownership opportunities for the families in need.