Jason Jackson is a sports broadcasting veteran currently serving as television host and courtside reporter for Miami HEAT telecasts on FOX Sports Sun. The 20-time Emmy winner and 2019 National Association of Black Journalists Sports Task Force Journalist of the Year also serves as a host for FOX Sports Sun’s Inside Heat and SiriusXM’s NBA Radio.
An active member of his now hometown, Jackson started the Jax Fam Foundation as a way to give back and support, empower and fundraise for organizations that are positively impacting the health, education and/or social welfare of underrepresented individuals.
Jackson shared with us his vision for his family’s philanthropy and why he chooses to give back to Casa Valentina.
How did you first learn about Casa Valentina?
I was invited by my then dentist to a fundraiser at somebody’s home. The party was being hosted by one of the women who was part of the original group who put Casa Valentina on the map … and made miracles happen. A young lady began to share her story. And I heard her say how, if not for Casa Valentina, she would not have had a place to settle after foster care. She made it very clear that she has no idea what her life would have gone like. That got in my soul immediately. It’s easy to forget your blessings; this experience through Casa Valentina made me fully recall mine. It reminds you that you need somebody, even as a young adult.
Tell us about your family foundation. How did you connect the two organizations to have a greater impact?
We established the Jax Fam Foundation ( JF2 ) in 2016 with the intent to help organizations and individuals focused on improving the health, education and social welfare of children and families in our community. Through the Jax Fam Foundation, we started the Jax Stuff 4 Christmas initiative and would find organizations like Casa Valentina to make an impact during the holidays. The story of not having a forever family ever – and during the holidays – had a double-fisted grapple on my heart because my Christmases growing up were special with mother, father, brother and sometimes extended family gathering. If we could inject some sense of belonging, some sense of care for these young women and men, we could show them they matter. We’ve done shopping sprees at Best Buy and brought over a fashion mobile. One Christmas we replaced beds in the residences. Our next project is giving the backyard space a makeover. I check in with the organization periodically to see what the facility needs, what the individual residents need, and take it from there.
What keeps you focused on the organization’s mission?
Impact. Casa Valentina provides a stopgap for young adults aging out of foster care or for some reason or another are homeless. I always looked at my parents as two architects who sat at a drafting board and drafted a plan, a blueprint. And then I came into this world and tried to execute on that plan. But for some people, they’re starting a blank roll of blue paper and they’re having to figure out how to draft without any drafting skills. That’s what Casa Valentina does. They step in and help provide youth with the life skills they need to architect a life. I look forward to crossing paths with one of these young men or women one day, seeing how far they’ve come, and having them recognize that we share a connection.
How do you keep your family engaged with giving back?
From the start, the Jax Fam Foundation was family oriented. In fact, it’s written into our bylaws that a Jackson of direct descent will take it over. I have two sons who are young adults, they’re 21 and 18. The older one was just nominated and voted on to our board. The fact that he’s graduating from college and headed to grad school with a taste of what it’s like to create the philosophy behind the giving is going to be important for the day he and his brother will carry on our legacy.