AKRON, Ohio — The LeBron James Family Foundation is about to experience another growth spurt, adding one more offering to a growing list of services designed to support Akron students and help strengthen the community.
The foundation announced in a release Tuesday its plans to open I Promise HealthQuarters in 2023, a primary care health center housing an array of services for I Promise program students and families, and the Akron community.
I Promise HealthQuarters will provide “family-oriented” medical, dental and optometry services, and house an on-site lab and pharmacy, the foundation said.
The facility will be developed at 533 W. Market St., directly across the street from LJFF’s House Three Thirty.
To offer such an array of services, the foundation said it plans to partner with AxessPointe, which offers health care services via several sites in Summit and Portage counties. Coleman Health Services and Peg’s Foundation will provide mental health services, the foundation said.
The foundation said the move furthers its objective to “redefine what family looks like while providing a new model for community building.”
“Access to affordable health care has always been a critical need for our families—and further heightened by the pandemic—so we began rallying our community to bring the experts together under one trusted roof,” said LJFF Executive Director Michele Campbell. “Being able to provide this important resource for the entire community is only possible because we have incredible partners that share our We Are Family philosophy.”
AxessPointe Executive Director Mark Frisone said the partnership will work because the entities involved “believe in putting people first.”
“Our investment in this location is about deepening our commitment to creating a healthier Akron for families who need support in ways that have traditionally been unmet,” he said.
Hattie Tracy, president and CEO of Coleman Health Services, echoed Frisone’s sentiment, saying the organizations share “core values of teamwork, innovation, empowerment and passion.”
“Creating an environment where mental health services are offered, barrier free, alongside other health services, is essential for our I Promise students and families to thrive,” said Peg’s Foundation President Rick Kellar.
I Promise HealthQuarters will occupy a site being vacated by Bell Music Co., which is currently led by David A. George, grandson of the company founder. George, who said his company’s ideals are similar to the foundation’s, agreed to relocate his gaming and coin-operated device company so the LJFF could “achieve its vision.”
“We want to make sure we’re doing our part to support and grow their work that lines up with our family-first approach,” he said.
The 533 W. Market St. site is large enough to accommodate all the health facilities planned, and also provide green space behind the building for physical and recreational activities, the foundation said.
The I Promise HealthQuarters is in close proximity to the other I Promise program offerings, all developed by listening to the needs of I Promise students and their families, Campbell has said.
The first to open was the I Promise School, east of the health center at 400 W. Market St. In a partnership with the Akron Public Schools district, the public school is known for wrap-around support services for students and their families.
The foundation’s House Three Thirty is on the next block. The workforce-training facility also offers financial-health programming, and gathering spaces for the I Promise program and the community.
I Promise Village, about a half-mile from the school, offers transitional housing for families struggling with challenges like homelessness and domestic violence, while I PROMISE Housing provides long-term affordable housing for stability.
The I Promise Institute at the University of Akron offers I Promise students higher-education support to help prepare them for the demands of university life.