Give to the Love You Too Foundation
UPDATE: On October 29, 2021, Michael passed away at 33 years old. Cheryl and Ernie have often told the story of the nurse in the orphanage who said “don’t take this one, he is no good”…but God would not let Cheryl walk out of that orphanage without him. Michael was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) which causes severe respiratory issues. Click this LINK to read the statement released by TNT. If you would like to make a donation in his memory, please use the link above.
A Heart for Others
Ernie Johnson buys two bouquets of flowers every week. One for his wife of 34 years, Cheryl, and one for a random stranger. Over the years, this random act of kindness has brought some to tears. Like the woman whose husband recently died. Or the woman celebrating a birthday all alone.
From seemingly simple gestures to larger-scale generosity, the Johnson’s have woven giving into the very fabric of their lives.
You may know them as Ernie Johnson, sportscaster and TV voice of Major League Baseball (TBS), a contributor to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament (Turner and CBS) and the host of nine-time Emmy-award winning TNT’s Inside the NBA; and Cheryl Deluca Johnson, former president/CEO and now brand ambassador of Street Grace, a faith-based organization dedicated to ending domestic minor sex trafficking. But to many others, they’re the anonymous person that made a difference- sometimes through monetary gifts and sometimes through giving their time.
“We give because we feel called to,” Cheryl said. “Our faith plays a significant role – we’re called to be obedient so when we feel that prompting, we follow it.”
That same obedience led them to adopt four more children, in addition to their first two. Three of their children have special needs, including 27-year-old Michael, who was adopted from Romania.
“He has muscular dystrophy, and we were told he would never walk, never talk and never bond with people. He did all those things,” Cheryl said. “He’s on a ventilator but his favorite phrase is ‘Love you, too’”.
When Ernie and Cheryl decided to open a foundation through the Community Foundation, they named it the Love You Too Foundation, in honor of Michael.
“We grew up with parents who impressed on us the importance of giving, so it’s always been something we do, and we’re passing that onto our children,” Ernie said.
They considered creating a foundation for many years, and this year sat down with the Community Foundation’s President and CEO Randy Render.
“We’ve been ingrained in this community for a long time – 34 years – and one of the reasons we chose the Community Foundation is because it’s a community foundation,” Ernie said.
“Also, going through the Community Foundation simplifies things and provides a more focused way of giving. Plus, you can have a collective impact when needs arise and choose to be part of a group giving through the Community Foundation.
“On a very practical basis, we always knew we wanted to create a foundation but didn’t want the administrative duties. The Community Foundation takes care of that for us.”
For the Johnsons, whether it’s giving of their time, talents or money, their desire to help others permeates everything they do.
“As a family, the Johnsons give incredible amounts of time and talent to the causes they care about,” said Redner. “We are thrilled they chose to give through the Community Foundation. They truly understand that philanthropy goes beyond just giving of one’s money. They embody why it’s Good2Give!”