July 24, 2021

NBA, NBPA launch foundation to support black communities

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The NBA Board of Governors announced it will contribute $300m in initial funding to establish the first-ever NBA Foundation dedicated to creating greater economic empowerment in the black community.

The Foundation is being launched in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).

Over the next 10 years, the 30 NBA team owners will collectively contribute $30m annually to establish a new, leaguewide charitable foundation.

Through its mission to drive economic empowerment for black communities through employment and career advancement, the NBA Foundation will seek to increase access and support for high school, college-aged and career-ready black men and women, and assist national and local organisations that provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development in NBA markets and communities across the United States and Canada.

As a public charity, the foundation will also aim to work strategically with marketing and media partners to develop additional programming and funding sources that deepen the NBA family’s commitment to racial equality and social justice.

The foundation will focus on three critical employment transition points: obtaining a first job, securing employment following high school or college, and career advancement once employed. Through contributions, the NBA Foundation will enhance and grow the work of national and local organisations dedicated to education and employment, including through investment in youth employment and internship programs, job shadows and apprenticeships, development pathways outside of traditional higher education, career placement, professional mentorship, networking and specific partnerships with historically black colleges and universities.

“On behalf of the NBA Board of Governors, I am thrilled to announce the creation of the NBA Foundation,” said NBA Board of Governors chairman and Toronto Raptors governor Larry Tanenbaum. “All NBA team governors recognise our unique position to effect change and we are committed to supporting and empowering young black men and women in each of our team markets as well as communities across the US and Canada.”

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Chris Paul in action for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Sacramento Kings
Image: Chris Paul in action for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Sacramento Kings

“The creation of this foundation is an important step in developing more opportunities for the black community,” said NBPA president Chris Paul. “I am proud of our league and our players for their commitment to this long-term fight for equality and justice, and I know we will continue to find ways to keep pushing for meaningful institutional change.”

The foundation will work directly with all 30 teams, their affiliated charitable organisations and the NBPA to support national organisations and their local affiliates as well as local grassroots organisations to facilitate sustainable programming and create change in team markets.

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts addresses the media at a 2019 NBA Cares event
Image: NBPA executive director Michele Roberts addresses the media at a 2019 NBA Cares event

“Given the resources and incredible platform of the NBA, we have the power to ideate, implement and support substantive policies that reflect the core principles of equality and justice we embrace,” said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts. “This foundation will provide a framework for us to stay committed and accountable to these principles.”

“We are dedicated to using the collective resources of the 30 teams, the players and the league to drive meaningful economic opportunities for black Americans,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “We believe that through focused programs in our team markets and nationally, together with clear and specific performance measures, we can advance our shared goals of creating substantial economic mobility within the black community.”

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