Jermaine established the Jermaine O’Neal Foundation in 2003 after making a long-term commitment to the Indiana Pacers, as well as the entire Indianapolis community. The Foundation was created under the ideal that everyone who calls Central Indiana home has a responsibility to keep the entire area safe, neighborly, and filled with hope.
While the programs and events that take place as a part of the Foundation are quite varied and diverse, they all strive toward the same end – the improvement of the quality of life for those children who need it most. Scholarships, clinics, and special events are only a few of the ways Jermaine and his foundation make an effort to better the lives of local kids.
In recognition of his continuous efforts and operations in charity, Jermaine has been awarded the NBA Community Assist Award for December 2003 and 2006. This award is given monthly by the NBA to the player who reflects the passion that the league and its players have for their communities. Winners receive a personalized plaque and $5,000 towards their charity of choice or personal foundation.
Old School vs New School Celebrity Poker Tournament
Jermaine O’Neal hosted another edition of his Old School vs New School Celebrity Poker Tournament Saturday, August 11th at 2:00 PM at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Jermaine was joined by NBA stars Tracy McGrady, TJ Ford, and many others who teamed up to benefit two amazing children’s charities. Proceeds from the event went to Operation Smile and the American Cancer Society. The event featured a celebrity “tip off” cocktail reception on Friday the 10th, and an after party at the JET Nightclub in the Mirage on Saturday night. The winner of the event took home $50,000 as well as the title of Old School vs New School Celebrity Poker Champion.
Jermaine O’Neal Super Shootout
Each April, this local tournament showcases the top senior male and female basketball talent in Marion Country, Indiana. Proceeds from the games benefit the Super Shootout Scholarship Fund.
2007 marked the fifth year that Jermaine’s foundation worked in conjunction with Super Shootout, Inc., an Indiana non-profit organization within the foundation that is dedicated to fostering leadership development through athletics, academics and social experiences. To date, more than 650 players have participated in the all-star game, nearly 100 athletes have been successfully matched with a college basketball program and 50 scholarships have been awarded to deserving students.
Jermaine and his foundation are especially active during the holiday season. JO has done his part to make holiday memories for many families and less fortunate children in Indianapolis as well as his hometown of Columbia, S.C. In 2006, he hosted his annual Christmas party (with Indiana Black Expo) for children ages 4 through 12. At this celebration, $250,000 in toys, clothes, shoes and electronics were distributed. O’Neal also hosts a similar Christmas party in Columbia.
For Christmas ’06, O’Neal partnered with Feed the Children to provide 400 Indianapolis Housing Authority families and senior citizens with meals for the holiday. In Columbia, South Carolina, O’Neal donated $30,000 to the local housing authority to go towards a shopping spree for 100 youths with superior grades in school.
“Every person should reach out to the community and not only reach out when there’s a disaster or something major happening,” O’Neal said. “It doesn’t take a whole lot of money; it doesn’t take a lot of material stuff to be effective. You can just take some of your time out and spend some time with people. Time is everything to people, conversation is everything to people going through an every-day struggle, and life is an every-day struggle. There are a lot of people out there that go through things that are hard to get over, but they just need a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen to them and it helps them a lot.”
Other Charity Work
In the past, O’Neal has lent a hand in several operations. Some of them include building homes for Habitat for Humanity, serving food at Indianapolis missions for Thanksgiving, participating in the Los Angeles Stars basketball game, and giving his name to be used by the Prostate Cancer Foundation for cancer awareness wristbands.