Andre Agassi Foundation for Education Receives the FBI 2014 Director’s Community Leadership Award
Laura A. Bucheit, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Las Vegas Field Office, has selected Andre Agassi Foundation for Education as the 2014 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) recipient. SAC Bucheit presented the award to Andre Agassi and CEO Steve Miller during the FBI Teen Academy graduation, part of this year’s FBI Adopt-A-School Program at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.
In 1994, tennis champion Andre Agassi created the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, a 501c3 charity dedicated to transforming public education in the United States. Agassi, as a native of Las Vegas, wanted to give at-risk youth an opportunity they would not otherwise have received.
Although Agassi was lucky enough to be gifted in playing tennis, he knew his formal education was lacking and the thought occurred to him: What about all those children who don’t have the luxury of falling back on a sport they can thrive in? What happens to their life? Where do they end up?
“I realized I needed to give these children the tools to have a future of their own choosing,” he said. As Agassi reminds us, “Every child deserves an outstanding education, and to provide it, the public schools here in Nevada and across the country need better resources and accountability. We’ve learned that when children are placed in an environment where expectations are high and excellence is the standard, they don’t resent it. They say, ‘It’s about time somebody believed in me!’”
Through its public charter school, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, the Foundation provides youth in Las Vegas with a quality K-12 education to prepare for college and beyond. In 2001, with the help of generous donors, and in partnership with the Clark County School District, the award winning campus opened in the heart of one of our city’s most historically underserved and economically challenged neighborhoods. Students that apply are accepted through a lottery and are selected based on the number of available seats. Students with an economic need, or who live within a two-mile radius of the school, are given a preference in the lottery. In 2009, the first graduating class had a 100 percent graduation rate.
Since the Foundation’s inception, the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education reports it has raised more than $180 million for the school and education initiatives nationwide. Agassi is an active participant in the foundation and its operations. He is frequently seen at the school visiting prospective donors and meeting with board members. Over the past 15 years, the Foundation has provided in excess of $60 million, not only in support of ongoing programming at the academy, but also to the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club located in the same neighborhood.
Prior to 2009, when the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education changed its mission and name, the Foundation supported such programs as Child Haven, Clark County’s only residential facility for abused and neglected children, and funded a six-room school building in 1997 named the Agassi Center for Education (ACE). The Foundation has also provided $720,000 to assist in the building of the Agassi Cottage for Medically Fragile Children. This 20-bed facility opened in December 2001. Other programs the Foundation supported were Assistance Leagues’ Operation School Bell, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp, and UNLV Scholarships.
Agassi has also sponsored Doral Academy and Somerset Academy, two other charter schools in Clark County.
The FBI presents the DCLA annually on behalf of its Director, James Comey. It was created in 1990 as a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs, and civil rights education and prevention. Each year, the special agent in charge of each FBI Field Office has the opportunity to select an individual or organization that has made a significant difference in the lives of others.
FBI Director James Comey will present Andre Agassi with the 2014 FBI DCLA during a formal ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., in May 2015.