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Our Mission

Our Mission

Through the context of sports Project Uplift works with schools, colleges, churches, professional teams, existing community groups and other relevant bodies, to assist in the total development of individuals so that they become well rounded, worthy citizens and contributing members of society.

We envision individuals who rise above social disadvantage, economic barriers and personal obstacles to realize their best selves and become proactive leaders in their communities.

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John J. Johnson

Founder, Project Uplift Tampa Inc.

Leadership Coach & Motivational Speaker


John Johnson, Founder of Project Uplift Tampa Inc., is a Leadership Coach and Motivational Speaker with a very diverse background. Born in Manchester, England, to Jamaican and German parents, he moved to Toronto before finally settling in Buffalo, N.Y., in the early 70s. Johnson's basketball talent earned him scholarships to Nichols Preparatory School and the University of Michigan, where he graduated with a B.S. in Education. (Go Blue!) In his senior year, he was honored to be selected for the 2nd Team All-Big Ten All-Star basketball team. Shortly thereafter, in 1981, he was drafted in the 3rd round by the Boston Celtics in the NBA.


“My professional basketball journey led me back to England, where I achieved one MVP and three English championships. In 1985, we relocated to Germany, playing for Bayer Leverkusen, again securing the MVP award and three league championships. In 1990, we finished 5th in all of Europe, and marking the best result for any German Mannschaft basketball team on record.


When I retired from professional basketball, I moved my family to sunny Tampa, Florida. I became a pharmaceutical rep for my former team sponsor Bayer AG, USA, and then a Financial Specialist for Wachovia Banks, where I earned the Rookie of the Year award. After a few years I transitioned to teaching and basketball coaching, taking me through various institutions, including Walker Middle, Berkeley Prep, Florida Southern College, the USBL with Darrel Dawkins, Academy of Holy Names, Tarpon Middle and High School, Dunedin High, Oak Grove and Largo Middle.


During my teenage years, Bob Floyd and Irv Saraki served as my mentors and coaches, playing a pivotal role in my development. They were not just mentors; they were a lifeline that I will always treasure. Inspired by their impact on my life, I created Project Uplift as a way to pay forward the support I received from them. In 1995, I established Project Uplift Tampa, Inc., with a primary goal of guiding individuals in developing their innate character and leadership skills through various avenues such as team sports, seminars, camps, and counseling sessions. Over nearly three decades, I have been actively involved in the Department of Juvenile Prevention/Intervention Committee, the USF Department of Education Developmental Board, led the Young Men's Initiative Think Tank, participated in the Leadership Tampa programs and awarded Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award."

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My three sons, who have in past years volunteered with Project Uplift, are all college graduates, and have pursued diverse career paths. David as a commercial banker in Denver, CO, Matthew as a Project Manager for Power Design in Tampa, FL, and Jared, a solar energy rep for Vivint Solar in Long Beach, California.

Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award presented to John Johnson from Project Uplift Tampa Inc. for 23 years of community service!

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