ORLANDO – Just like their NBA counterpart, Magic Gaming strives on a yearly basis to be world champions on and off the court.
While they’ll have to wait until 2022 to potentially fulfill their NBA 2K League title aspirations, Magic Gaming is using this offseason to further their mission of making a significant impact on the Central Florida community.
Magic Gaming recently launched an online fundraising campaign to help raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida. The fundraiser, which runs through Sept. 10, aims to provide an assist to children who need it the most.
“They do an incredible job of helping a lot of kids, who are in tough situations,” Magic Gaming General Manger and Head Coach Jonah Edwards explained. “The people at the Boys and Girls Clubs are incredible from my experience here in Orlando. They’re incredibly humble and selfless human beings. They provide amazing resources and kids are lucky to have a resource like the Boys and Girls Clubs.”
The proof is in the pudding. The clubs, which are located in neighborhoods that, on average, rank at the 12th percentile for household income and the 71st percentile for incarceration rates, aim to break the cycle of poverty for future generations by providing members with academic support, extracurricular opportunities, and positive adult role models. Last year, 94 percent of senior club members graduated high school and have plans for the future, while 98 percent of all club members were promoted to the next grade level.
“We’re thrilled to be able to work with them in any capacity,” Edwards said. “Due to COVID, doing in-person fundraising is more difficult, even though this is the time that they probably need it more than ever. We’re glad we can help out here and any way possible down the road. We’d be missing the mark if it wasn’t a focal point of Magic Gaming to help the local youth.”
The team doesn’t have to look very far to see the impact the Boys & Girls Clubs can have on adolescents. Magic Gaming rookie Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez was a club member from age 7 through 13 and he can’t emphasize enough the impact that they made on his life.
“The Boys and Girls Clubs were there for me when I was a little kid because I became a member in 2006, and (my family and I) were struggling at that point,” said FutureClutch. “Most of the time, I didn’t have my first meal until I went to the club. There were always different activities. Really, everybody there and that whole environment felt like another home.”
That second home had a pivotal impact on his daily life and on the holidays. He fondly recalls memories of Christmas time when he and his siblings would receive a large bag full of presents, and even one special holiday when the Boys and Girls Clubs gifted him a bicycle.
It’s not lost on FutureClutch the full-circle nature of him once being a daily club member, who depended on the organization for his meals, to now becoming a professional e-sports athlete who’s helping to raise funds for that same program.
“Honestly, that feels great because I met a lot of kids when I was younger who were going through my same situation,” Magic Gaming’s lockdown defender explained. “Gladly, mine got better as I grew up, but many of the people who I met, their situation got worse. Boys and Girls Clubs help those people out just as they were helping me when I was a little kid.”
The fundraiser is just the latest in the many community outreach efforts Magic Gaming and the Orlando Magic have participated in.
Each year, the Magic gives more than $2 million to Central Florida by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise and grants. At the heart of the Magic’s charitable efforts is the work done by the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. The OMYF has distributed $1 million to area nonprofits in this calendar year – the 13th time it has hit that mark since OMYF’s founding in 1990.
To help make your mark on Magic Gaming’s latest fundraiser and provide an assist to the Boys and Girls Clubs, click here.