The Jet Jones Foundation hosted their 2nd Annual Party for a Purpose Thursday, August 3rd in Atlanta, Georgia. Charitable guests enjoyed drinks, hors d’oeuvres and music as they poured in with their own contribution of school supplies for the starting school year. We had the pleasure of speaking with the delightful couple that’s behind the Jet Jones Foundation, DeQuan “Jet” Jones and his lovely wife, Allison Jones. In 2012, DeQuan started his career as a professional athlete with the Orlando Magic. He later played for the Atlanta Hawks and has played internationally with the Chiba Jets of Japan as well as the Lille Metropole Basket of France.
His charitable journey started with a trip to Walmart.
“I was in Walmart and saw a single mother buying school supplies for her three kids. One of the kids picked up a 12 pack of Crayons and she told him to put it back because they couldn’t afford it. It kind of did something inside me because I remember how tough it was for my mom as a single parent to provide school supplies for me. So I pulled her to the side, like ‘I don’t mean to be intrusive or anything like that but I feel it in my spirit to help you out, would you allow it?’ So she did, and the rest is history.” – DeQuan Jones
DeQuan, who stands at 6’8″ and Allison, who has an incredibly warm presence are an exemplary duo whose passion for service and love for people exudes through their conversation. Read more of our chat with the Joneses below.
CC: What was your motivation for starting the Jet Jones Foundation?
DeQuan: “Honestly, it’s just recognition of my privilege, I do understand that I am fortunate to be skilled at a particular sport and it’s just my way to give back to the community. — (I want to) pretty much level that playing field for those students or upcoming talent that may not get the recognition or that moral support (in) whatever particular field that they do; whether that’s being a scientist or a performing arts student.”
Allison: “I also have to add, because he always tries to be so humble… but he used to literally go out and buy school supplies for random kids, we would be at Walmart and he would see a mother that was struggling to provide for her children and he would just politely say ‘I’m not trying to overstep my bounds, but would you mind if I just paid for your school supplies today?’ – We just kind of put our heads together and we were like how can we do more?”
DeQuan: “Because there’s so much more to do.”
Allison: “How can we help more kids?”
CC: While acknowledging that there’s more work to be done, what birthed the Party for a Purpose?
DeQuan: “It all came from seeing and immersing myself in the people. For any organization that looks to be influential in the community they have to immerse themselves with the people of the community because in the end, that’s what makes them effective (when) you know what the needs of the people are. So I think just immersing myself with students, with teachers, with the youth and with community leaders and everyday citizens… it allows me to kind of get an idea of what’s important and what they need. It’s just having a love for people.”
Allison: “And I think in terms of the Party for a Purpose specifically, we’re Millennials, we’re in our 20’s and we were like, ‘what would kind of motivate millennials to get involved’ not shading us, because we’re a great group (of people) but–”
They exclaim with laughter.
The Joneses: “A Party!”
Allison: “Some drinks some food…”
CC: We just like to multi-task!
Allison: “Exactly! So if we can come out and meet people and drink and network and also serve a good cause… we just knew that people would come, people would get involved and if we can just get you in the door then we can tell you more about what we do and kind of get you involved on a bigger level as well.”
CC: So for Party for a Purpose is there a particular goal for how many school supplies you want to donate?
DeQuan answers with abit of a chuckle.
DeQuan: “It’s pretty simple just double whatever we got before. Our last Party for a Purpose we raised over 500lbs worth of school supplies in which we donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank Kids in Need program which works directly with Title 1 schools.”
CC: That’s awesome! And how will the supplies be distributed?
DeQuan: “We are working closely with one DeKalb County school–”
Allison: “–And one Fulton County school.”
DeQuan: “We’re working with them directly–”
Allison: “–And if we have more (supplies) than they can take then any surplus will still go to the Kids in Need program at the Atlanta Community Food Bank because they literally let teachers from Title 1 Schools come in and (pick up) what they need (complimentary). So they’re just able to come in, like ‘I have 18 students, I need 18 notebooks 18 packs of pencils…’ so we love what the (Atlanta Community Food Bank) does as well and we love partnering with them when we’re able to.”
In reference to Title 1 schools, her husband adds…
DeQuan: “You know I don’t like to say ‘at-risk schools’ or ‘at-risk youth’ but (this is for) you know those inner city schools that may need a little more assistance, a little extra support.”
Although DeQuan was born in Green County, Wisconsin, it is no coincidence that he is familiar with the needs of Atlanta area schools…
CC: I understand that Atlanta is your home.
DeQuan: “Absolutely, I grew up in Stone Mountain!”
Allison: “And I grew up in Fulton but like him, I recognize my privilege, I went to private school so, you know, it’s a little different.”
CC: What can we look forward to? What are the Jet Jones Foundation’s nearest goals and upcoming projects?
Allison: “In a week we’re actually hosting a community clean-up in Stone Mountain’s Medlock Park, a park that my husband used to play in growing up, so it’s really close to his heart. Every year we go into the park like right when school is starting or right after and we clean it up so that kids can have a clean park to play in. We also just launched a scholarship fund this year so in the fall we’ll be picking our first recipients for that.”
DeQuan: “We’re going to be helping high school seniors cover their college application fees.”
Allison: “Our thing is like, if college application fees are the only thing stopping you from applying to Harvard, like you got it, we’ll cover that.”
Allison Mathis-Jones is the daughter of the late Charles A. Mathis Jr. of the Mathis Law Firm of Atlanta who is remembered as an honorable, well-regarded attorney and activist. The scholarship was created in his honor. Read more about the Charles A. Mathis Jr. Scholarship Fund here at JetJonesFoundation.org
Allison: “And we’re looking forward to next summer, we’re doing a camp for athletes, because my husband plays basketball —”
DeQuan interjects jokingly…
DeQuan: “I play basketball on the side…”
They laugh together.
Allison: “We work with athletes whenever we can, but what I love about what he wants to do is we’re going to also be providing them with knowledge. — We’ll be on the court half the day and the other half of the day we want to make sure you know how to handle money once you make it, among other things and on top of that we’re also adding an etiquette workshop next year, which should be tons of fun that’s kind of my little baby that I’m spear-heading. So yeah, we’re excited about that.”
The Party for a Purpose Happy Hour Mixer was a success and the Joneses are such a kind and fun-loving couple to be around, finishing each other’s sentences and giving in the most thoughtful of ways.
“This has always been a passion for us, to be pivotal in the community to just reach out and touch people and contribute however we can. — Understand that (in) our foundation the contributions aren’t just monetary they’re non-tangible, so if you want to volunteer your time, your knowledge, your effort in any way that’s well welcomed and well appreciated.” – DeQuan Jones
Plug in with them and follow The Jet Jones Foundation on Instagram @JetJonesFoundation , Facebook.com/JetJonesFoundation and Twitter @JetJones_Org for event and program updates. You can also follow the founders’s pages on IG @DeQuanMJones and @AllisonMathisJones
Don’t wait, get involved today! Email your name and T-shirt size to firstname.lastname@example.org and help prepare a clean space for kids to play!
“It gives kids a deeper sense of pride in their community with seeing a clean neighborhood.”
Join the Jet Jones Foundation for community clean-up at Randolph Medlock Park in Stone Mountain on Saturday, August 12th from 9AM to 11AM.