Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem is helping to bridge the digital divide for students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit.
Tellem and wife Nancy are donating $139,000 to the school to ensure that every student at the school will have a new laptop computer for the coming school year. That donation is expected to impact more than 400 students. In the midst of the pandemic, school districts are moving to all-virtual or hybrid models of learning for at least the fall semester, making having a computer is becoming more important than ever.
The school, founded by Detroit native and former Michigan basketball star Jalen Rose, will begin its 10th year in the fall. The Tellem family’s donation continues the relationship between the Pistons, team owner Tom Gores and JRLA.
“Many of our families lacked the devices and internet connectivity that were needed for online instruction after the state ordered school buildings closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Rose said in a statement. “What Arn and Nancy are providing is a game-changer for us as we try to bridge the digital divide and meet our scholars' needs during these uncertain times. The continued influence of Arn, Nancy, Tom and the entire Detroit Pistons Family has been paramount to our success."
When Rose played in the NBA, Tellem was his agent and they’ve continued their professional relationship into the next phases of their careers. Rose, who played three years at Michigan and had a 13-year NBA career. He’s currently an ESPN analyst but checks in regularly on the students at the school.
“Jalen’s leadership in founding JRLA is inspiring and a great example of his passion for Detroit and its youth,” Tellem said in the statement. “Education is vital to the city’s continued growth and resurgence. Nancy and I are proud to support JRLA’s growth by providing laptops and technology resources that will continue to drive the school’s tremendous graduation and college acceptance rates in the future.”
JRLA has graduated 94% of students in its four-year cohort and 100% are accepted to college or post-secondary programs. In nine years, the school has enrolled more than 1,000 students through its open-enrollment program.