Mateen Cleaves’ “1 Goal, 1 Passion” initiative started with a series of basketball camps this summer.
The former Michigan State basketball standout is now expanding that to help struggling Michigan families this holiday season.
Cleaves has partnered with Fox Sports Detroit and other organizations for a 1 Goal, 1 Passion: Hope for the Holidays project this month with a plan to help 1,000 Michigan families in Lansing, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Saginaw. The project will aid families in need by paying utility bills and providing gifts and meals.
“We didn’t want to do the typical pass out a turkey,” Cleaves said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but we didn’t want to do that. We wanted to kind of take it to another level.”
The 1 Goal, 1 Passion campaign is identifying families in need through Habitat for Humanity, the United Way and the Boys and Girls Club. It also plans to reach out to other organizations to find more people it can help.
“It’s very important to me,” Cleaves said. “A lot of people always talk about the state that Michigan is in, but nobody seems to want to do anything about it. I know that we can’t change it in one day, but I definitely want to do my part and do whatever I can do to help give back to our great state of Michigan.”
To raise funds for the campaign, 1 Goal, 1 Passion will have a celebrity bowling tournament in Flint on Saturday, a tailgate prior to the Minnesota-MSU football game on Nov. 30, and a holiday party, musical performance and silent auction in Detroit on Dec. 6. Donations are also being accepted at 1goal1passion.com.
Cleaves said the summer basketball camps and holiday project is just the start of what 1 Goal, 1 Passion is doing to improve the lives of people in Michigan.
“The sky is the limit and we’re going to continue to get creative and come up with different things that we can do to help our state,” Cleaves said. “We’re not going to put ourselves in a bind to limit it to just basketball or just giving things during the holidays.
“We’re going to go and try to find job placements for some of these families, give some of these families insight on ways to continue education to better themselves. It’s just not about giving food and gifts, we’re going to continue to come up with creative ways to help our state.”