Barkley’s generous donation came as a surprise to the school as it is his custom to make an announcement before informing the institution he making the donation to.
The Inside the NBA co-host was inspired to give to Spelman because of the impact the school has had on Jordyn Hudson, the daughter of his business partner, John Hudson.
"John has been a great mentor, a great friend, and a great business partner,” Barkley told Al.com. “I was ready to do another HBCU and with his daughter doing great things at Spelman, so I told him, ‘Why not there?’”
Jordyn Hudson, who, this fall, will be the Spelman's class president , recently produced the documentary Shape the Culture: Then & Now, which explores how activists of the 1960s influenced the work of young activists today.
Helene Gayle, the new president of Spelman expressed her gratitude for Barkley's gift to the school.
“Charles Barkley’s $1 million gift to Spelman College comes at a significant time as we continue to close education and wealth inequality for Black families and maintain affordable education opportunities for women of African descent,” said Gayle. “As one of the country’s leading engines of social mobility and the nation’s leading HBCU, this generous gift will help build upon Spelman’s legacy of developing the next generation of leaders.”
While Barkley is known for his prowess when he was in the NBA and is a part of an Emmy-winning sports show, he’s also a philanthropist that has given to several HBCUs.
He donated $1 million, respectively, to Alabama A&M, Miles Colleg, and Tuskegee University. In 2016, he gave $1 million to Clark Atlanta University. aIn 2017, he donated $1 million to Morehouse College.
During the height of the pandemic, the native of Leeds, Alabama gave every Leeds City Schools employee $1,000 and arranged for students to receive 200 computers and free internet service for a year,
“People are aware of Charles from TNT and his NBA stardom, but I don’t think people are aware of how focused he is on philanthropy and entrepreneurism,” said his business partner John Hudson, “He knows how committed Jordyn is to Spelman and has seen how it has transformed her worldview.”
“What can you say about someone who is so giving and charitable with their resources with all they’ve accomplished?” added Hudson. “He has a special place in his heart for Black women; I’ve seen him invest in Black female-owned companies. This is just another indication of Charles investing in something that is close to his heart.”