Pierce Makes Dreams Come True at Project Hope


Project Hope gratefully accepts a $50,000 donation on September 26. (L to R) State Representative Marie St. Fleur; Sister Margaret Leonard, Executive Director of Project Hope; Jack Wilson, Senior Deputy Director, Fannie Mae Massachusetts Partnership Office; Paul Pierce; and Nate "Tiny" Archibald, Hall of Famer and Community Ambassador for the NBA.
BOSTON (Sept. 26, 2002) -- Boston Celtics co-captain Paul Pierce, the NBA and the Fannie Mae Foundation joined children and representatives of Project Hope for the ribbon cutting of a newly-refurbished children’s center and playground on Thursday, September 26. Renovations and improvements to the center were made possible by a combined donation from the NBA and the Fannie Mae Foundation on behalf of Pierce.

Pierce was selected for the 2002 Home Team Community Service Award in recognition of his dedication to the community. The award includes a $50,000 grant -- $25,000 from the Fannie Mae Foundation and $25,000 from the NBA. In keeping with his commitment to the community, Paul Pierce chose to give this gift back to the community through Project Hope. “I considered many organizations when making this gift and chose Project Hope based on its committment to low-income families and children,” said Pierce. “Together, we share an interest in investing in children living in low-income communities.”

Over the gleeful cheers of 18 preschoolers, Paul Pierce cut the ribbon on the Children’s Center improvements this morning. Joining Pierce at today’s ribbon cutting were NBA Representative Tiny Archibald, Fannie Mae Foundation Representative Jack Wilson and State Representative Marie St. Fleur. The group was given a tour of the renovations by Project Hope’s Children’s Center Director Lori Thames and 18 3-5 year-old children from the center. The children wore green and white t-shirts emblazoned with “34” in honor of the Boston Celtics co-captain, and delighted Pierce by greeting him with a song.

“It was a great honor for me to receive the Home Team Community Service Award from the Fannie Mae Foundation and the NBA,” said Pierce, “and an even greater honor to be here today and witness the positive impact it will have in the lives of countless children at Project Hope. My sincere thanks go to the Fannie Mae Foundation and the NBA for allowing me to give this gift.”


Paul reads a book that the children wrote and illustrated about him. The story is about Paul, a little boy who wants to play professional basketball, but his mother insists that he learn to read as well as he plays basketball.
Project Hope helps families achieve self-sufficiency through an integrated continuum of services from crisis intervention to child care, basic and higher education, and job training programs. The funding has enabled Project Hope to refurbish the Children’s Center and playground with a new playground structure and indoor loft, a playhouse, sandbox and gate, books and new computer software for reading readiness.

“Paul Pierce and Project Hope share the same dream that every child will have access to all of the resources they need to develop into their full potential.“ said Sr. Margaret Leonard, executive director of Project Hope. “Our Children’s Center has received a major face-lift due to Paul Pierce’s inspiration and commitment to the community. We appreciate both Paul’s acknowledgement of Project Hope’s work in ending family poverty and the magnitude of his gift which is instrumental in helping us fulfill our mission, particularly in the current economic climate. Project Hope has been committed to serving families in the Dorchester/Roxbury area, and advocating for change state-wide, since 1981 and gifts such as this ensure we can continue to serve our community.”

Since entering the league four years ago, Pierce has been involved in various community programs and has shown the city of Boston the difference one man can make. Pierce’s Playground, the Paul Pierce Turkey Giveaway, the Paul Pierce Celebrity Softball Challenge and the Paul Pierce Summer Basketball Camps are only a few of the programs that Paul has spearheaded over the past year. Pierce is also a national spokesman for the NBA’s “Read to Achieve” program which promotes the importance of reading and education to children and their families.

“Paul is a great example of an NBA player who is a leader on and off the court," said Kathy Behrens, NBA Vice President Community Relations. "His creation of this facility and his involvement in the Read to Achieve program shows the kind of commitment that he has to the Boston community and countless children will benefit from that for years to come.”

The Fannie Mae Foundation creates affordable homeownership and housing opportunities through innovative partnerships and initiatives that build healthy, vibrant communities across the United States. The Foundation, a private nonprofit organization supported solely by Fannie Mae, has regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Pasadena and Philadelphia.


The children of Project Hope personally greet "#34" Paul Pierce.

Paul poses on the new playground equipment with a young fan. In front is a greeting card the children made for Paul.
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