Executive Director, Celebration Bowl
John Thomas Grant, Jr. was named executive director of the Celebration Bowl, Atlanta’s newest college football postseason game owned and operated by ESPN Events, in August 2015. Having worked in the Atlanta market for over three decades, Grant joins ESPN from 100 Black Men of Atlanta (100), where he was the chief executive officer. The organization provides support and improves the quality of life for African Americans, and youth in particular, in the Atlanta Community. Grant garnered a reputation among his Atlanta-chapter colleagues for his ability to obtain “blue-chip” corporate sponsors and successfully manage their investments in the organization.
He joined Airborne Express in 1979 and just two years later was promoted to Area Operations Manager in Greenville, S.C. In 1985, he was relocated to Atlanta, where he served in several areas including leading the operations, customer service, and sales organizations.
His personal achievements led to numerous company awards, including several National Sales Awards for the highest growth ranking among his peers, Sky Courier District Sales Manager of the Year, and the company’s first and only Humanitarian Award in 1997. He also led the development of the company’s internal mentoring program.
In 1988, just four years after migrating to Atlanta, Grant became the youngest member to join the 100 Black Men of Atlanta at the age of 30. He was voted its Man of the Year in 1989 after leading the organization’s flagship program Project Success, and was elected as Secretary of the Board of Directors 1990. He served as an elected member of the Board until his selection as Chief Executive Officer in 2001. Grant also served as Chairman of the Atlanta Football Classic, the organization’s largest fundraiser from 1999-2001. Under his leadership, the event set record attendance and revenue levels each year and grew it into one of the top three recurring sporting events in the state.
Grant currently serves on several boards including, True Colors Theatre Company, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, Central Atlanta Progress, Atlanta Sports Council, Georgia Humanities Council, Emory University Center for Ethics, and the National Wildlife Federation. He also served on the working committee and now the Advisory Board for the Center for Civil and Human Rights along with the Early Learning Commission for the United Way.
A native of Potecasi, N.C., he graduated from North Carolina A&T.