The Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce released the following press release on September 14, 2023.
Three-time NBA Champion and Mexico, MO native Tyronn Lue announced a partnership between The Tyronn Lue Fund, Ballmer Group, and Partners for Rural Impact to enact an innovative, place-based initiative in his hometown.
The five-year commitment will bring a multi-million-dollar commitment to support ongoing efforts to accelerate educational achievement and community development.
Called the C2C, which represents its commitment to cradle to career outcomes and commitment to community, the initiative builds on Lue’s ongoing philanthropic efforts in Mexico.
Through the Ty Lue Fund, he has supported many community events ranging from youth summer camps to an annual community celebration and fireworks display.
“We want to ensure that everyone in Mexico has an opportunity and a vision of success for their future, said Lue. I want the entire town of Mexico to be surrounded by positivity and for our kids to believe that they can succeed in Mexico or anywhere else in the world. I’m excited about our team’s goals of restoring and reviving the beauty in Mexico. Education, trades, and transportation are three of our main focal points.”
This work will be supported by Ballmer Group, which was founded by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, to support the development of place-based partnerships.
Ballmer, who visited Mexico in 2022, said Lue’s commitment to his hometown inspired his support. “Ty is passionate about providing opportunities to kids,” said Ballmer, “and we have a model that’s working in a lot of places, so it’s a great opportunity to apply it in a rural community.”
Place-based partnerships are led by citizens, nonprofits, and members of the public sector who are committed to working together over the long-term in one place – a neighborhood, community, or region – and share accountability for dramatically improving outcomes for children and families, while reducing racial disparities in the process.
To help implement the model, Ballmer connected Lue and his philanthropic advisor, Jenny Goldstock Wright, with Partners for Rural Impact (PRI), a nonprofit with expertise in translating the strategies used in place-based partnerships to rural communities. Founded by Dreama Gentry to accelerate educational success in Appalachian Kentucky, PRI has grown to support resident lead efforts to improve educational results and career opportunities in rural communities nationwide.
PRI staff recently held six “Community Circles” with residents from a cross-section of the community. The ideas and concerns shared during these meetings will shape the strategies and programs to be developed.
Daniel “Gunther” Nunnelly, who participated in the planning process, including the “Community Circles,” said “I felt that that was very, very important to hear from the people need in this town, so I was excited when we got the Mexico community’s voices involved in the project. Hearing from them had impact and gave valuable input on what the whole community needs.”
The meetings provided an opportunity to share Mexico’s strong tradition of community engagement, particularly for activities designed to address the intergenerational impact of poverty on educational outcomes, workforce readiness, and family stability.
To ensure continued strong communication and community outreach, PRI plans to hire Mexico area residents to help guide the C2C initiative. According to PRI Vice President Mike Hogg, in addition to having an entrepreneurial bent, the ideal candidates will be ready to have “100 cups of coffee with folks over the next few months.” Listening to stakeholders and aligning efforts will be critical to the project’s success.
Mexico area residents are encouraged to apply on the PRI website –
AVP for Strategic Communications
Partners for Rural Impact
Ballmer Group is committed to improving economic mobility for children and families in the United States, funding leaders and organizations that have demonstrated the ability to reshape opportunity and reduce systemic inequities. We focus on multiple impact areas and systems that can impact economic mobility – such as early learning, K-12 education, college and career pathways, housing, behavioral health, and criminal justice – and we support leaders and organizations that focus on undoing systemic racism and the barriers it has created. Ballmer Group is both a national and regional funder – we have a presence and invest deeply in southeast Michigan, Washington state, and Los Angeles County. Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Partners for Rural Impact is a national organization committed to rural student success. We focus on accelerating impact across rural America, home to the bulk of places in persistent poverty in our country. And we work in partnership with communities to reach our ultimate hope, which is an America where all kids — regardless of zip code, income, background or ability — are successful.