Michael Jordan donates $7 million to build medical clinics in Charlotte

Michael Jordan
FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015, file photo, former NBA star Michael Jordan smiles at reporters in Chicago. Nike is opening a Michael Jordan-only store in Chicago's Loop on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. The new Jordan Brand store will sell merchandise with the trademarked Michael Jordan "Jumpman" silhouette. Nike also plans stores in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto featuring the former Chicago Bulls star. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hornets owner Michael Jordan is donating $7 million to launch medical clinics that he hopes will help at-risk communities in Charlotte.

It’s the largest philanthropic donation ever by the former NBA champion.

The donation will fund two Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics, which are projected to open in 2020.

“Through my years of working with Novant Health, I have been impressed with their approach and their commitment to the community,” Jordan, a North Carolina native, said in a release Monday. “It is my hope that these clinics will help provide a brighter and healthier future for the children and families they serve.”

Jordan’s spokesperson Estee Portnoy told The Associated Press Monday that the Hornets owner “feels so great about being able to impact the Charlotte community and help people who really deserve it. Michael and Novant are really excited about this project.”

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Portnoy said Jordan, 54, was motivated by a study that found poor children in Charlotte have the worst odds of those of any of the top 50 cities in the United States to lift themselves out of poverty.

A release from Novant stated the clinics will provide an avenue to affordable, high-quality care — including behavioral health, physical therapy, social work, oral health and family planning — to individuals in the community who have little or no health care.

The clinics have the potential to decrease emergency room utilization by 68 percent and decrease hospitalization by 37 percent for the residents of these neighborhoods, according to Novant.

Novant added that the clinics are projected to care for nearly 35,000 children and adults who do not currently have access to primary and preventive care or who use the emergency room for non-urgent medical needs.

“This gift will transform the lives of thousands of families and children living in poverty-stricken communities,” said Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health said. “We are thankful to Michael for his generosity. The gift will remove barriers to high-quality health care in some of the most vulnerable communities.”

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