SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Koret Foundation awarded its 2010 Koret Prize to eight-time Grand Slam winner and Olympic gold medalist Andre Agassi today for his demonstrated commitment to creating educational opportunity for underserved youth. Often called the most charitable athlete of his generation, Agassi has been instrumental in encouraging fellow sports celebrities to participate in charitable activities.
Since retiring from his distinguished career in professional tennis, Agassi has spent 15 years working to improve educational opportunities in disadvantaged neighborhoods of his native Las Vegas. He created the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education in 1994 and opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a K-12 public charter school, in 2001.
“Andre represents a model for the next-generation philanthropist by committing his wealth to improve his community,” said Koret President Tad Taube. “His focus on K-12 education aligns with the Koret Foundation’s own mission of promoting educational opportunity through achievement standards, transparency, accountability, and choice.”
At a private luncheon attended by more than 200 guests, Agassi shared his views, presented in his recent memoir, Open, on tennis, philanthropy, and his academy’s approach to reforming public education. Preeminent tennis commentators Barry MacKay and Ted Robinson joined Agassi in conversation. Stanford Tennis Director Dick Gould, the winningest coach in NCAA history, also participated in the program.
The Koret Prize is awarded periodically to individuals who make extraordinary contributions in areas of interest to the Koret Foundation. The 2010 Koret Prize includes a cash grant to the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which drives reform by engaging in practice, policy, and partnerships that provide high-quality education and enrichment opportunities.
In the state of Nevada, only half of every 100 ninth graders will graduate from high school and only 10 of those will graduate from college. By contrast, Agassi Prep’s program boasts a 100-percent graduation rate among its seniors, with virtually 100 percent of them admitted to four-year colleges. The K-12 academy has 623 students.
“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by the Koret Foundation, a leader in the national dialogue on education reform,” Agassi said.
Previous Koret Prize winners have included Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel (2007), San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (2000), and former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz (1996).
The Koret Foundation finds and funds lasting solutions to help communities thrive. In addition to K-12 education reform, program areas include public policy initiatives; community-building through strengthening arts, culture and civic institutions; and an international initiative on Jewish Peoplehood. Koret’s collaborative approach leverages its philanthropy and empowers organizations to develop model initiatives.