Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry donated $100,000 to help student athletes in the South-Western City School District in Columbus, Ohio.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Perry surprised students during a musical concert at the Finland Middle School. In front of 700 students and staff, Perry said, “I want to sponsor as many kids as I can,” before handing over a $100,000 check to the Success Beyond the Classroom Foundation.
Perry was inspired to visit the school after watching the HBO series, “HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” in September that profiled Finland teacher Mary Mulvany who co-founded the Success Beyond the Classroom Foundation. The foundation was created to help raise money for students who could not afford to participate in school sports.
In 2009, the school district was forced to eliminate sports and other extracurricular activities due to financial constraints after a failed levy. Since then, schools begun charging students to participate in sport activities and extracurriculars.
“How many [of you] have hopes and dreams and goals and things you want to do? Listen. Don’t let anybody stop you,” Perry said to the crowd of students–some of which were crying as they listened to his inspirational words. The director/actor/writer shared his tough childhood story with the students telling them they are the ones who continue to inspire the work that he does.
Last October, Perry announced that he would team up with media mogul and close friend, Oprah Winfrey to produce two new shows for the OWN network. The drama The Haves and the Have Nots (May 28) and the sitcom Love Thy Neighbor (May 29) both premiere this week on OWN.