Alumni Story – Kenny Acquah

Photo of Kenny Acquah with Jimmy Lee
Kenny Acquah with Jimmy Lee

The Jimmy Lee Fund was created in June 2015 in memory of Jimmy by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The endowment will bring Jimmy’s friends, family and colleagues together to provide scholarship awards to low-income students attending inner-city Catholic high schools within the Archdiocese of New York. As Jimmy was dedicated to teaching young people the value of hard work, eligible candidates will be strong students involved in a school sponsored athletic program. For more than twenty years, Jimmy Lee’s generosity enabled dozens of inner-city students to graduate from high-performing Catholic schools. Jimmy developed personal relationships with each of the high school students he sponsored. Kenny Acquah remembers how Jimmy Lee’s altruism, counsel, and friendship came together to make a positive impact on his life.

Kenny first met Jimmy when he was 15 years old and learned that Jimmy would sponsor his education at Mount St. Michael Academy. Kenny met Jimmy at his office for the first time and was taken aback by the powerful figures he knew, such as Ronald Reagan and Robert Kraft. Kenny says, “I thought, alright, he knows people!”

Through getting to know one another, Kenny felt motivated to make the most of his education. Kenny describes, “the more I got to know him, the more I saw the impact he had, basically on the world.” With Jimmy’s presence in Kenny’s life, Kenny felt motivated and encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. He joined the school’s football, basketball, and track teams, while participating on the student council and the National Honor Society.

Kenny says, “these activities not only kept me out of trouble, but taught me discipline and teamwork. When I compare it to some of my friends from my neighborhood who weren’t able to have those opportunities, I definitely saw the difference.”

Growing up, Kenny did not know what JPMorgan Chase was, and had always believed to be most successful one needs to be a doctor or lawyer. Jimmy’s guidance shed new light on different professions and careers. He put Kenny on the right track to earn a scholarship from Holy Cross, where he studied, played football, and launched his own non-profit on campus.

Kenny is excited to graduate this spring and begin his career at JPMorgan. Kenny says, “when I get my first paycheck, I am going to donate to the Jimmy Lee Fund.”