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Actor Denzel Washington gave a generous gift – accompanied by a strong message – to save a New York school district’s sports program.

Denzel Washington has donated $100,000 to help save the Mount Vernon school district’s sports programs. The budget for three seasons of sports was slashed by the district and the city is now trying to raise funds privately to keep the program intact. While Washington is “really upset” by the budget cuts, his donation has helped Save Our Sports, the city’s fundraising effort, raise $329,000 towards the fall sports season.

While fall sports have been saved, the city requires an additional $630,000 to save the winter and spring seasons. Washington, a Mount Vernon native, expressed disappointment in the school system. “I don’t know how we got here. Why wasn’t this looked at a year ago?” He questioned. “You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan.”

Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young and district spokeswoman Desiree Grand are focusing on fundraising efforts and moving forward. The district has received additional support from the proceeds of a National Basketball Association youth event and other private donations.

“Yes, the debate goes on about how we got here,” Young said. “But we are in this position, and we need to move forward.”

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