Less than 40% of African American males graduate from high school and four of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America are located within 10 miles of our home base at Perkerson Park.  Our Ambassadors have a 100% high school graduation rate and all have been admitted to college.  Working with L.E.A.D. to give them a more positive future makes my heart happy.  When I consider that 75% of Atlanta Public School students live at or below the poverty level, it puts a smile on my face when I see a young man going to college using baseball to ensure that his family won’t accumulate high debt in order to obtain a college degree. 
At times unfortunately, I believe that the smiles that my wife and I have on our faces lead people to believe that we have it all together.  The reality is that we are making it day by day.  The staff that is making L.E.A.D. successful is my wife Kelli and I.  We have faithful volunteers that includes the Leaders and Ambassador’s parents but we need more in order to keep L.E.A.D. going.  The “heart” work Kelli and I have done has gotten us to this point but this is our official call for help.
What do we need?  We need financial support.  If 5,000 people donated $10 a month for a year, we would meet our annual budget without a grant.  How have we been meeting our budget over the past three years?  Kelli and I haven’t received a salary for our 7 day per week, 10 hours per day sacrifice.  We have been fortunate to receive grants from the Atlanta Braves, the MLB Baseball Tomorrow Fund and other local foundations.  We currently have a partnership with Mizuno that is year-to-year and our board of directors has been active.
Our results show that the program works and can be successful nationwide, but without staff and resources such as qualified coaches, staff, tutors and facilities, the future of L.E.A.D. will be difficult to maintain.
Unfortunately, having a heart for kids doesn’t get the bills paid and we become limited in our ability to help additional deserving families.  Atlanta is my city and it hurts me to not be able to properly serve those families that want to do better.  If you can’t find a way to do better, you are simply forced to survive.  My commitment is real.  We are in the trenches everyday trying to make Atlanta a safe place through the development of young men that are invested in making Atlanta great!
We also need your time.  When I was a kid, I was able to make my dreams become a reality through the support of a lot of people.  There is no reason that it can’t still work.  There are millions of people living in this city.  Some are privileged and some are not.  At the end of the day, we are all Atlantans.   How much time do you have to donate to a worthy cause like L.E.A.D.  What professional resources can you provide to us?  We all have something to offer.
We are in the process of developing a Tailgate Club that will make giving to L.E.A.D. simple.  We are scheduled to launch the Tailgate Club December 2010.  For more details, visit  Giving to youth is the best investment that you can ever make.  You have a lot to offer and we want to show you what it’s worth to us.