The Grio: Prince’s secret life as a philanthropist


As more people who knew Prince speak publicly about him, a larger, fuller image of the pop icon is coming into focus. One facet of Prince that few knew was that of an effective but severely secretive philanthropist.

Van Jones, a political activist and one-time White House Special Advisor for Green Jobs, is one of the friends coming forward to shine light on Prince’s charity. Jones claims that Prince invited him to Paisley Park after he lost the White House job and struck a deal wherein he would help Jones help others. It seems one of the conditions of this arrangement was that Prince’s involvement be kept secret.

Jones went on to launch #YesWeCode, an initiative with the goal of teaching 100,000 underprivileged kids to code. Prince appeared at the Essence Music Festival to help with the program’s launch, but Jones claims that his involvement was much deeper, crediting Prince with coming up with the idea. Now, Jones tells us that that Prince also helped bankroll it.

Jones claims Prince’s charity reaches well past #YesWeCode – that he supported organizations from #BlackLivesMatter to public radio to Harlem Children’s Zone. Who knew? Well, none of us did, and that’s the way Prince wanted it.

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