Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Karen Lancendorfer

Second Advisor

Ann Veeck

Third Advisor

Robert Harrison


J.D. White P.L.A.Y. Foundation is a Non-Profit Organization which targets underprivileged youth. John White is the Founder and President of the J.D. White P.L.A.Y. Foundation (, licensed Minister, and influential mentor to young boys and girls in the metro Detroit area. He strives to make a positive impact on inner city youth with a focus on athleticism. Being the role model that he is, John White has written an Urban Fiction book called “The Black Athlete.” In this novel, the protagonist, R.J Watkins, serves as a representation of inner city African-American kids and the struggles that they go through on an everyday basis. In addition to this novel, White created an athletic clothing brand called “The Black Athlete.” This clothing brand started out as a promotional tool for the novel “The Black Athlete;” however, it has become something more meaningful to consumers engaging with the brand. In turn, this clothing brand has become the cornerstone of the organization and it has served as being a means of positive reinforcement and motivation for inner city youth.

Being that J.D. White P.L.A.Y. Foundation is a non-profit organization, the biggest issue is having enough funds to accomplish organizational goals such as providing academic scholarships, mentorship programs, and other efforts that support professional, academic, and personal development. Also being that The Black Athlete clothing brand is the cornerstone of the organization and has generated funds that have been used to reach organizational goals, John White has invested a lot of time and effort into making this brand one that fuels J.D. White P.L.A.Y. Foundation. With that being said, the first initiative is to understand The Black Athlete clothing brand’s current consumers. Research questions include:

  1. Who are The Black Athlete’s current consumers?
  2. What is The Black Athlete’s current consumers’ perception of the brand?
  3. How can The Black Athlete improve to better serve current consumers?

Using Qualtrics Survey Software, a survey was developed and administered to a total of 53 respondents. To make this research effort effective, survey was only administered to consumers who are currently aware of The Black Athlete clothing brand. With that being said, John White sent the link to the survey directly to those consumers. The survey consisted of seventeen descriptive questions and respondents were asked to answer question honestly.

Based on survey results, the following were observed about The Black Athlete’s current consumers:

  1. Current consumers consist mostly of African American middle-aged adults, teenagers, and young adults
  2. Current consumers learned about the Black Athlete through athletic coaches
  3. Current consumers have a positive brand image

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted