by Contributing Writer, Cheryl Howard
Mr. Leon Lee, a native of Sacramento, California, became a visionary and a businessman following an illustrious career in professional baseball. He was class of ’71 out of Grant High School. In high school, Leon was a gifted baseball player. While still in high school he was scouted, recruited and following graduation, signed to a professional contract with the U.S. team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Lee would play pro-ball for the next 17 years here in the states and abroad in Japan. After retirement from active play, he returned to Japan only to become the very first African American to hold the position of a team manager. For another 9 years he was an International Scout, a Pacific Rim Coordinator (PRC) for the Chicago Cubs. As a PRC he negotiated all the international contracts for players in the Major League All-Star tours to Japan. Leon never had regret for bypassing college. “My education had been in the airplane traveling all over the world,” he chuckled. He virtually learned about business from his vast experiences in pro-ball on and off the field.
With an expressed desire to give back to the community from whence he came, he founded and became CEO of Dream Alive Investment Corp., a non-profit 501c3. To be fully operational, his company is awaiting funding from Spoker.com. In a fast rewind, Lee was working with the city of Sacramento to restore the historical stadium, the Harry Renfree baseball field. While seeking investors for this great project, he met investor and businessman Phil Givant. Mr. Givant is the Founder of a Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) online game, Spoker.com. Spoker has numerous, unnamed, social media powerhouses who will influence people to play the DFS game. With an official launch to take place soon, Spoker will have generated substantial revenue and Givant will donate 50% of its revenue to Dream Alive.
Lee said his company will not depend on the government for funding. He will receive all funding from private enterprises. The two men having merged in friendship and in business recognize the essential need to reach out to the African American communities that have historically been economically disadvantaged for far too long. “Our goal is to create economic balance for the underserved communities on a national scale.” said Lee. He has plans to take Dream Alive to places like Los Angeles, Missouri, Georgia, and New York. His job as the CEO is to allocate all donated revenues to fund, in short, educational programs for youth and to assist in the development of small businesses.
To begin, “Education is the key. We have to get kids at an early age to understand the value of an education.” Lee said. He believes there is a need to focus on our youth. Dream Alive will create scholarships to motivate kids to go to college. “Almost every community has programs in place, however, the issue is that they never have enough funding to succeed.” Lee said. Dream Alive will provide a funding source to guarantee that they will succeed.
“Another goal is to create financial backing to African American businesses, but its money that they don’t have to pay back, they need to pay it forward. We want them to succeed and then help another company to succeed.” Lee stated. “More money goes out of our communities than any other ethnic background.” Lee said. In short, if we don’t keep our money earned from our businesses, then we can’t create wealth for ourselves.
Leon Lee has found success within his own family. His wife Pamela of 45 years and their three children. Derrek, 45, and Bryan, 39, both played in the Major Leagues. Then, daughter, Israya, 42, will be joining her dad in Dream Alive. With Dream Alive, Lee’s most valued and purposeful efforts will be to invest, motivate and set the example of how we can create and re-create wealth and pay it forward within our own communities. Just try to imagine the untapped power that can be shared and taught to this generation and generations to come.
Click here to read more about the phenomenal baseball career of Leon Lee.
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Cheryl Denice Howard is a freelance writer and in her short career has successfully written three stageplays, was editor and creator of three community newsletters, and while in college had more than 30 articles published. Her favorite genre of writing is Opinion. She won an award for opinion writing, and it was well deserved. She is currently working on her first screenplay while pursuing a Bachelor degree in Journalism with a Minor in Creative Writing.