The NBA Foundation made its first big wave in its commitment to Black communities across the United States with a $2 million grant to several organizations that will drive engagement and development.
Its board of directors also announced Greg Taylor has been pegged as the first executive director. Taylor will take over in January after serving as a senior vice president of player development, having been involved with assisting players with professional and social development.
He joined the NBA in 2013 and will take over in the NBA Foundation, which was formed in October following discussions with the NBPA during the Orlando bubble. The NBA Foundation aims to address racial inequality and social injustice.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, Charlotte Hornets chairman Michael Jordan and Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris are among those on the eight-person committee.
“We are thrilled to name Greg as our first Executive Director, a professional with extensive philanthropic experience and firsthand knowledge of the values central to our league,” said Mark Tatum, NBA Foundation president and NBA deputy commissioner and COO in a statement. “The Board sees this as an opportunity to continue to build momentum in creating meaningful opportunities and sustained change in the Black community, and we look forward to Greg’s leadership as the Foundation grows.”
Among the grantees is exalt, a New York City-based organization that aims to steer court-involved youth into paid internships, Critical Pedagogy and criminal justice system avoidance. Another is called the Marcus Graham Project, aptly named after Eddie Murphy’s iconic character in “Boomerang,” which will focus on developing leaders in advertising, media and marketing.
Overall, seven grantees will receive funding with initiatives based in places like Oakland, Milwaukee and New Orleans. Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Operation DREAM, The Knowledge House, TEAM Inc. and the Youth Empowerment Project are the recipients.
The grants will largely focus on mentorship, training and pipeline development for Black men and women across the U.S. at levels starting from high school all the way to mid-career personnel.
Over the next 10 years, the NBA Foundation will work with all 30 NBA teams, committing $30 million annually in initial funding, along with working with media and marketing partners for additional funding.
Some teams have already announced initiatives, including the Brooklyn Nets. Nets owners Clara Wu Tsai and Joe Tsai announced grant recipients in the first of a $50 million commitment over the next 10 years who’ll tackle issues in Brooklyn focused on the wealth gap, health care disparities and education, among others.
All five recipients are Black and Brooklyn-based.
The Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks have also recently announced efforts, devoting funding in their respective communities, among 12 franchises in total thus far.
Before the NBA restart in Orlando over the summer, the league and NBPA announced the goal would be to take action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice. Players took time to address issues of racism during news conferences and jerseys featuring slogans that initially were auctioned off for select causes.
Leading up to the recent presidential election, NBA arenas were used as polling centers for the first time and very likely, increased engagement in disenfranchised cities. The NBA announced its commitment months ago and thus far, it's putting the muscle behind its words.
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