On February 28th, Phil Ivey claimed his first World Poker Tour victory at his eighth appearance at a WPT final table. With numerous tournament and cash game success in his past, the win padded his bankroll with close to $1.6 million more. And with that win, Ivey decided to begin giving back.
While Ivey typically keeps his business and philanthropic dealings private, there was a public statement, though unclear on whose behalf it was released, that Ivey took $50,000 of his WPT winnings and donated it to Empowered 2 Excel (E2E), a local Las Vegas Christian Academy. The developing organization has been seeking sponsorship, donations, educational materials, and other resources in order to grant scholarship opportunities to academically qualified but otherwise underprivileged children.
Ivey did officially announce that he intends to continue his grandfather’s philanthropic legacy by forming a non-profit organization called the Budding Ivey Foundation. It was named in part for the late Leonard “Bud” Simmons and will be led by several people close to Ivey himself – close friend R. Winston Morgan, secretary LaTosha Perry, and mother and treasurer Pamela Ivey. Though the foundation’s non-profit status is pending, it began its charitable ways by making the substantial donation to E2E, which is one of the many programs that will be helped by the Budding Ivey Foundation.
“I have been given a lot of gifts,” said Ivey. “This foundation provides me an opportunity to give back. My grandfather set the bar on personal achievements, charitable work, and community service. Filling his shoes will be hard work, but I’m always up for a challenge and I’m committed to continue his legacy.”
More information will be released about the Budding Ivey Foundation as it gains its non-profit status and expands. Empowered 2 Excel was founded and created by former school teacher Angela Rawls and former guidance counselor Toni Ellis, who were inspired by Oprah Winfrey’s South African Leadership Academy for Girls. E2E is a faith-based educational program with a mission to promote academic excellence, build character, and encourage wellness in youth through positive reinforcement. The E2E Academy is established for kindergarten through fifth grade students and is currently accepting enrollment. More information can be found at www.Empowered2Excel.com.