On the heels of winning last week's L.A. Poker Classic and his first World Poker Tour (WPT) bracelet, and then placing third in this weekend's NBC National Heads Up Championship, the usually private and reserved poker professional Phil Ivey made a generous $50,000 donation to Empowered 2 Excel (E2E), a local Las Vegas Christian Academy.
Ivey also announced on Sunday that he intends to continue his grandfather's philanthropic legacy through The Budding Ivey Foundation, named in part after the late Leonard "Bud" Simmons. The Budding Ivey Foundation will be led by Ivey's close friend R. Winston Morgan, secretary LaTosha Perry, and Ivey's mother Pamela, who will serve as the foundation's treasurer. The foundation's non-profit status is currently pending. E2E is one of the many programs that will fall under the umbrella of The Budding Ivey Foundation.
"I've been given a lot of gifts," said Ivey from his Las Vegas home during a meeting with Budding Ivey Foundation representatives. "This foundation provides me an opportunity to give back."
Currently in development, Empowered 2 Excel was founded and created by former Clark County School District (CCSD) fifth grade teacher Angela Rawls and her childhood friend Toni Ellis, a former CCSD Middle School guidance counselor. E2E is a faith based educational program whose mission is to promote academic excellence, build character, and encourage wellness in youth through positive reinforcement. E2E has recently leased a newly built facility, located at 5175 Camino Al Norte, in North Las Vegas, Nevada, that will serve as a model for future E2E academies. Though E2E is Rawls' and Ellis' long awaited educational dream, the inspiration for the North Las Vegas based center came from Oprah Winfrey's South African Leadership Academy for Girls. The E2E Academy will serve to provide a supportive and respectful environment for kindergarten through fifth grade students. It is currently accepting enrollment.
"My grandfather set the bar on personal achievements, charitable work, and community service," stated Ivey. "Filling his shoes will be hard work, but I'm always up to a challenge and I'm committed to continue his legacy."
E2E is desperately seeking sponsorship, donations, educational materials, and resources in order to grant scholarships opportunities to academically qualified underprivileged children.
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