Even as a young boy, Michael Johnson had a big heart and a genuine love for children. He realized at an early age that there were others less fortunate than him. Because of his compassion, he would always go that extra mile to help someone. In high school the Selma, Alabama native did well and even tutored some of his teammates for exit exams. He was active in community projects and volunteering for programs like Habitat for Humanity.
At Georgia Tech Michael was instrumental in organizing the Brotherhood of Excellence, a group of young men who focused their energy on mentoring inner city kids. As a professional athlete, he immediately began touring schools, spending time at the Boys and Girls Club in Cincinnati, sponsoring and assisting in football camps, and other groups whose focus was the support and nurturing of children. His message to them is always that they can be successful too by having a vision for success.
In his rookie year with the Cincinnati Bengals, Michael started his foundation, the MJ 93Fund, a component fund of the Community Foundation of Middle TN, a 501 (c) 3 organization.
The mission of the MJ93 Fund is to teach kids to capitalize on their abilities and talents via education and determination to succeed for the possibility of scholarship eligibility; to teach the importance of proper nutrition and exercise for healthier bodies with the goal being to avoid obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, 3 health challenges which are becoming prevalent among kids today; and to encourage and mentor on how to be successful in life by sharing how he made his dreams a reality. The objective of the fund is to support 3 programs, specifically, but not inclusively, in the areas most dear to his heart; Selma, his hometown; Atlanta, where he attended college; and Cincinnati, where he presently plays defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Regional Programs & Events:
- 4th Annual Youth Football & Cheer Camp [April 27, 2013]: Open to boys and girls ages 8-17
- Fun Day in the Park: Activity Day for Selma Youth where games and activities are planned to get kids moving and enjoying physical activities
- Selma Let’s Move Initiative: A program to help raise a healthier generation of kids, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation
- Brotherhood of Excellence: A club started by Michael and some of his college teammates whose main focus was to mentor inner city kids
- Speaking Engagements: Visiting schools to deliver messages of how to be successful
- University of Cincinnati Generation 1 Program: A UC Initiative designed to promote the academic success of Pell grant eligible, first generation college students
- Most Valuable Kids of Greater Cincinnati: An organization dedicated to enriching the lives of underprivileged kids. They send kids to sports and entertainment events they would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend. Michael selects his students by having them submit essays about overcoming obstacles
- Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati: An organization that provides a safe and positive place for kids ages 6-18 to learn and grow. MJ participates in the Punt, Pass and Kick program