NBA pledges $300M toward economic development in Black communities

Dubbed the “NBA Foundation,” the initiative will support training and career opportunities high school and college-aged Black men and women.

The NBA has pledged $300 million toward a new foundation that aims to support economic development and career opportunities within the Black community, the league announced Wednesday.

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The $300 million commitment stems from $30 million in contributions from the league’s 30 team owners over the next 10 years. Dubbed the “NBA Foundation,” the initiative will support training and career opportunities high school and college-aged Black men and women throughout North America.

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“On behalf of the NBA Board of Governors, I am thrilled to announce the creation of the NBA Foundation,” said Toronto Raptors owner Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the NBA Board of Governors.  “All NBA team governors recognize 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 U.S. and Canada.”

The NBA Foundation will focus on helping community members find their first jobs or build careers following high school and college. The $300 million investment will go toward programs that teach relevant job skills, internships, mentorship and other means of support.

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The league said the newly formed organization will rely on the charitable networks and partnerships of all 30 teams, as well as the National Basketball Players Association. The NBA Foundation’s board of directors will consist of members from the league office, players union and among the 30 team owners.

“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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The NBA is allowing players to wear pre-approved social justice messages on their jerseys during its ongoing season restart in Orlando. In addition, league officials have opted not to enforce a longstanding policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem.

The league’s stance has drawn criticism from several prominent politicians, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, who has called on Silver to testify before Congress regarding the NBA’s dealings with China. Hawley noted that the league’s list of pre-approved messages did not include anything related to the support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

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