John Thomas Grant, Jr. was named executive director of the Celebration Bowl, Atlanta’s newest college football postseason bowl game owned and operated by ESPN Events, in August 2015. The first of its kind bowl pits the champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference against the Southwest Athletic Conference. In 2018 Grant added the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, an annual kick-off game that feature teams from the respective conferences. The games open and close the HBCU College Football season in Atlanta. Having worked in the Atlanta market for over three decades, Grant joined 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 has received numerous awards and recognitions. He was selected by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans, 100 Most Influential in Hospitality, 50 Most Influential Non Profit Leaders, ‘50 Most Influential Leaders in Sports, and, Who’s Who in Sports. He was inducted into the 2015 Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame, named one of Atlanta’s 2016 Men of the Year by the Atlanta Tribune Magazine, and 2017 Rotary Club of Atlanta Progress Through Innovation Award.
In 2016 Grant co-founded the Atlanta Friendship Initiative with William “Bill” Nordmark. The organization was focuses on connecting people of different ethnicities and backgrounds to foster better relations and friendships. To date there are 179 pairs of friends.