LeBron James to open multi-use community center in Akron, Ohio

  /  12.15.2020

Lebron James continues to make an impact in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. On Tuesday (Dec. 15), the LeBron James Family Foundation announced plans to open up a 60,000-square-foot venue called House Three Thirty that will offer a broad range of community services like financial literacy advice, job training, youth activities and more. The building, which is taking over the city’s Tangier entertainment complex, will also house a dining area, sports complex, coffee bar and more.

“[House Three Thirty] is going to be a sanctuary for our families,” James told TIME Magazine. “It’s going to be a place where all our families can grow and learn. This will be a hub for everything possible our families will need.”

Named for the city’s area code, House Three Thirty is just the latest Akron development to come from James’ foundation. His I Promise School opened in 2018 and the foundation recently launched its first housing complex, the I Promise Village.

Speaking with TIME, foundation Executive Director Michele Campbell said the idea for House Three Thirty came from conversations with residents at the I Promise Village.

“You have more intimate relationship when you have people living in your building 24/7. We started listening to some of the struggles with employment and job training and really digging deeper with our families,” Campbell said. “So, we learned pretty quickly that the next part of the movement, if you’re to going to change the trajectory of a whole community, was we need that job-training piece.”

House Three Thirty will offer hands-on job training in industries like plumbing, heating and cooling, food service, merchandising, accounting and event planning. James’ foundation also partnered with JP Morgan Chase, which will helm a dedicated space to offer banking advice for families.

“LeBron is taking a real leadership role here,” JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said. “You’d think schools would be teaching financial education, just like they should be teaching wellness and health and nutrition. All these studies show [that if] you start to save, you continue to save.”

“These communities — white or Black — that are underbanked or unbanked, it’s partially because the people don’t trust banks. They don’t really understand them; they don’t know them, they’re not coming and walking in them,” Dimon added. “Part of it is that we have to reach out. These community centers are a great way to reach out to people and just bring them in. Explain saving products, how checking accounts work, how you can get a checking account for your kids [and] start them on the process of saving.”

TIME reports that Dick’s Sporting Goods will also create a youth sports complex at the building with basketball courts, a soccer field and recreational space. According to James’ foundation, House Three Thirty should be up and running by 2022.

“It’s another win for our families,” James added. “But also a win for the city of Akron, and then for the people that are actually going to be there and see our model and hopefully they take it to another community as well.”

See a video about the project below.


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