Bay Area rapper E-40 is giving back to his alma matter in a big way. The Vallejo, Ca. native, whose real name is Earl Stevens, donated $25,000 worth of backpacks and school supplies to students from Franklin Middle School in his hometown Tuesday.
The platinum-award-winning 48-year-old rapper, who is known to throw turkey, backpack and toy drives, told reporters at the event that he had grown up on nearby Magazine Street and made the honor roll in eighth grade.
“This is very important to me, school’s everything,” he said. “I’m just giving back. I love the kids. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
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His message to the kids: “Stay in school, stay out of trouble, stay positive.”
A Title 1 school, Franklin Middle School has been providing backpacks and school supplies to students on the first day of school for the past two years. When E-40 found out that the school has been unable to secure a grant this year he made sure that every student was able to choose a Jansport backpack, which came filled with necessary supplies like pencils, pens, notebooks, binders and folders.
"Kids are our future and we must invest in them," E-40 said. "It's good to be involved in your community. If you're in a position to help someone, I think you should do it. I'm playing my position."
Every backpack also came with a handwritten note from E-40:
Dear Franklin Scholars,
Welcome to Franklin Middle School! For the past two years, Franklin Middle School has been providing backpacks and school supplies to our students on the first day of school through community donations and grants. When Earl “E-40” Stevens learned that the school was unable to secure a grant for the beginning of the school year, he was more than willing to meet the need of our school site. E-40 stated, “Kids are our future and we must invest in them. Not every kid is privileged to afford school supplies, but every kid deserves to be equipped with the tools necessary to succeed.” Every student at Franklin Middle School is able to select a Jansport backpack filled with school supplies and a personal message from our sponsor, E-40.
Earl “E-40” Steven is a true example of what you can accomplish with hard work and motivation. One of the most celebrated rappers of all time, E-40 has attained legendary status in hip-hop. At age 48, E-40 is an anomaly in hip-hop, maintaining his relevance over a career that spans four decades, which boasts several platinum and gold singles. E-40’s success extends beyond the music industry, most notably through his entrepreneurship in other industries. E-40 is continuing his unprecedented longevity and success as an independent artist with his double album, The D-Boy Diary: Book 1 & 2, scheduled for late 2016.
As a former Franklin scholar, it was important for him to equip each and every student with the tools necessary to succeed, while also motivating them by sharing his story. As a person who has thrown several turkey drives, backpack drives, toy drives, and more, this backpack drive for his alma mater is the latest example of his commitment to his community and Vallejo youth. E-40 concluded, “It’s good to be involved in your community. If you’re in a position to help someone, I think you should do it. I’m playing my position.” Along with E-40, this endeavor would not have been possible without the support of our amazing staff at Franklin Middle, our friends at Bridgeway Church, our Full Service Community School Site Collaborative Team, Mayor Osby Davis and staff, and our Franklin parents and families. We are truly thankful for the generosity and support of E-40 and wish everyone good luck in the new school year!