LeSean McCoy, known affectionately as "Shady," is a name that resonates with football fans around the world. As a former Eagles running back, McCoy's illustrious career left an indelible mark on the sport, and he proudly represented his home state of Pennsylvania throughout his time in the league.
But McCoy's impact extended far beyond the football field. Through his foundation, Shades of Greatness, he dedicated his time and resources to making a positive difference in the communities around him. Even after retiring in 2021 as an Eagle, McCoy's influence in Pennsylvania continues to flourish, as he embarks on an exciting new project aimed at benefiting his hometown of Harrisburg.
Upon retirement, McCoy pondered how he could continue to impact his community. He found his answer in real estate, recognizing the potential to change the narrative for young men and women living in underprivileged environments.
"I thought, 10, 20, 30 years from now, they will only know about LeSean McCoy, the football player on YouTube. How can I still impact my community without shoulder pads, helmets, or the fans screaming my name?" McCoy wondered.
Thus, McCoy and his brother, LeRon, founded Vice Capital, a company focused on real estate development. Their latest endeavor involves the construction of two large affordable living complexes in Uptown Harrisburg. These complexes will primarily serve individuals and families with incomes at or below 60% of the Area Median Income.
The project, named J.M.B. Gardens, will feature two- and three-story duplex townhomes, as well as a ground-floor unit with dedicated space for a computer lab, kitchen, management office, supportive services office, restrooms, and an outdoor patio and park. The YMCA community program will also utilize this space.
"I always talk about what my purpose is, and I think the purpose was to give back to people," McCoy explained. "I think the intro was playing football, but my main purpose is to impact people from different races, different colors, different genders – that's my biggest thing, so that's how I got involved in real estate projects."
The vision for J.M.B. Gardens extends beyond providing affordable housing. The goal is to create a community that offers amenities and services to both residents and the surrounding neighborhood. This includes job creation, programs, and services that foster a sense of community and challenge the stigma associated with affordable living.
For McCoy, this project holds personal significance. Growing up, he and his family didn't have the luxury of a backyard. Therefore, each unit in J.M.B. Gardens will include a yard, ensuring that children who can't afford their own space now have an opportunity to play and enjoy the outdoors.
"My first home I ever had in Harrisburg, we didn't have a backyard," McCoy shared. "We didn't have a front yard. The kids that can't afford it, I want them to have their own yard space, so now kids can go out there and get dirty in the grass ... their own grass."
McCoy's childhood memories also include warnings from his parents to avoid abandoned or condemned homes due to the dangers they posed. With J.M.B. Gardens, he seeks to eliminate these concerns by replacing old buildings with new, safe, and vibrant structures.
"We're wiping a lot of that away, so now this community doesn't have to worry about those rules – I can't go next to the abandoned house or areas where it's drug-infested. We're knocking all that down and we're building all new things," McCoy emphasized.
"That's the best part, I think. I'm bringing to my hometown, where I'm from, the real definition of community and neighborhoods."
Beyond his commitment to Harrisburg, McCoy hopes to inspire fellow athletes to utilize their platforms and resources for the greater good. He noticed that many players struggle to find purpose after retirement, often investing in ventures unrelated to their personal lives. McCoy aims to change this trend by demonstrating the value of investing in local communities through real estate.