Marcus Lemonis Donates $10 Million to His Alma Mater, Including $18k Bonus for Each Employee

“Is this what kids feel like with Santa?” asked one of the teachers.

Entrepreneur and television star Marcus Lemonis is carrying out a nationwide initiative he started called “The Great American Tip-Off,” where he initially pledged $1 million as the kickstart to a call to action for others to show extra love this holiday season — he has since far surpassed the initial pledge.

On Thursday, Lemonis returned to his alma mater, Christopher Columbus High School, where he graduated in 1991. “It’s hot as s*** out here. I know we’re not supposed to cuss — all right — I will try to be brief about this,” said the 48-year-old as soon as he took the stage in front of about 1,600 people during a 9 a.m. school-wide meeting on the football field.

“When we think about the people that make this school run, the people that make it tick, the people that take care of the grounds and the classrooms, that teach us, that take care of us, those to me are the most important service providers on the planet,” Lemonis said. “It’s not a glamorous job; it’s not a high-paying job; it’s a job with a lot of stress.

“Today, I’ll be providing a $3.1 million tip to everybody who works here. You’ll be sharing it,” he said. “Whether you’re a school teacher, whether you are in the maintenance department — every single employee will receive a check for $18,000.” These bonuses will go to the approximately 145 teachers and 35 support staffers.

Omar Delgado, a broadcast teacher at the school, said this life-changing surprise was special for his growing family. His wife is pregnant with their first son. “My son just started with a step forward in life,” said Delgado.

The donation will include an additional $7 million to develop new buildings on the school’s campus.

Image source: Miami Herald