All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell pledges $12 million to help students and teachers at his old middle school

by Aaron Falk

Donovan Mitchell celebrated his max contract extension by joyfully belly-flopping into a swimming pool — and then diving headfirst into philanthropy.

The Utah Jazz guard and his family recently pledged $12 million to help the Connecticut middle school where Mitchell’s mother taught and where Mitchell and his sister were educated.

“When we were in the Bubble, we were talking about different ways to impact our communities,” Mitchell said. “For me, my biggest thing was education. We’re at a place in the world where people aren’t as informed as they should be. And where do you learn? You learn in school.”

Mitchell’s upbringing gave him insights into life in both the public and private school systems.

“I’ve seen that there are two Americas,” he said.

Mitchell’s donation to Greenwich Country Day School, the largest donation in its history, will be used in three different ways:

• Scholarships for students will allow children from all financial backgrounds to attend the school.

“We want to take kids from less-fortunate areas who may not have the means to go to private school,” Mitchell said. “We take pride in that.”

• Financial aid for teachers will be available, too.

“Teachers are the unsung heroes throughout all of this,” Mitchell said. “They’re underpaid. I’ve seen my mom teach for a lot of years … and there are a lot of times teachers are paying out of pocket to make the kids’ experiences great. To be able to support the teachers was something I wanted to focus on. I’m extremely blessed to be able to make that happen.”

• A new gym will also be built at the school.

“Being able to donate a gym in my name is pretty special,” Mitchell said. “That’s where it all started for me.”

Mitchell, 24, has also been a presence in Utah communities since he was drafted in 2017, donating time and money to myriad local causes.

“That’s him,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “He’s done a lot of things and he’s had the opportunity to be vocal on a lot of different issues. He’s consistently voiced a commitment to education. I think he’s a role model to a lot of kids.”

NEXT UP:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter