Pitbull's Florida charter school nonprofit nabs at least $1 million in COVID-19 loans

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PHOTO VIA EVA RINALDI/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo via Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia Commons

Sports Leadership and Management, Inc., a sports-centered charter school operator in Miami whose founders include rap star Pitbull, received at least $1 million in interest-free federal loans to prevent layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to records released by the federal government this week.

The charter school operator, known as SLAM, received a loan ranging between $1 and $2 million in April, data released by the federal Small Business Administration said. The school used the loan, which is part of the Paycheck Protection Program passed by Congress in April, to retain 220 jobs, according to the records.

The federal program was designed to bolster businesses during the economic downturn caused the COVID-19 pandemic. Pitbull, also known as “Mr. Worldwide” and “Mr. 305,” is a heavy promoter of the charter school, which serves students in grades six through 12.

The reggaeton superstar, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez, in June posted an Instagram video filmed atop a Miami SLAM school congratulating the class of 2020.

“These are historical times, and you guys are going to be the ones who will be the leaders of the new world,” Pitbull said in the video. “You guys are the ones who are going to be the ones who make a difference.”

Sports Leadership and Management, Inc., the nonprofit organization that qualified to receive the PPP loan, is not a charter school, SLAM officials said when asked to comment on Wednesday.

"Although it operates several charter schools, the entity also provides student and community service activities that are separate from the schools," the statement said. SLAM's website says its mission is to “produce college-bound students through emphasis on sports-related majors and post-secondary preparation.”

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