Jam Introduces Education Foundation
(Bakersfield, Calif. – December 15, 2009) — The Bakersfield Jam is proud to announce the creation of the Bakersfield Jam Education Foundation, a 501(C)3 non-profit organization operated entirely through the Jam organization and serving the youth of Bakersfield’s Oildale community, where the team is headquartered.
The Jam is the very first NBA D-League franchise to house a charitable organization within its own facilities that will serve the local community on a daily basis. This unprecedented community action was conceived by co-owners Stan Ellis and David Higdon to operate in conjunction with the team’s revolutionary new business model and the construction of the new Events Center, which includes considerable space dedicated exclusively to the Foundation.
“This has been a goal of mine for quite a while, and I am thrilled that we are going to be able to change kids’ lives with our facility on a daily basis,” said Jam owner Stan Ellis. “Giving back to our community is very special to me, and I believe that we have created a unique program with the help of Larry Reider and our staff.”
The Foundation will administer an after-school program built in response to the California data from the America After 3PM survey conducted by the Search Institute. The program will take an asset-based approach, shifting child-care from reactive and problem-focused to proactive and positive-focused.
“The Bakersfield Jam's new after-school program is an extraordinary example of our teams’ commitment to their communities," said Vice President, NBA Development League Community and Player Programs, Kevin Carr. "This initiative underscores our league-wide efforts through NBA D-League Cares by using their own facilities to provide youngsters with an ongoing community outreach program that will provide them with much needed resources for years to come."
In particular, the Jam Education Foundation will stress the five assets that have the strongest correlation to academic achievement and success:
Studies have shown that providing children with a so-called “third place” – in addition to home and school – to be safe and further their education in the afternoon and early evening hours is a critical component of childhood development. In specifically setting aside space in its new building for the use of the Education Foundation, the Jam has created an ideal “third place” for the youth of the Oildale community.
“In my years of experience in the school system, it has repeatedly been shown that after school programs are an important part of children’s success,” said former Kern County Superintendent of Schools Larry Reider, who will sit on the Board of Directors for the foundation and serve as its first Managing Director. “That really goes for success later in life, not just in academics.”
The new Bakersfield Jam Events Center has four rooms on its upper level for Foundation use – a library, a computer lab, a classroom where students can study and will have mentors and tutors available to them, and an arts and crafts room. The students will have plenty of opportunities to engage in physical activity as well, with access to the state-of-the-art workout facilities at the new Jam Performance Center and the same Events Center court where the Jam play their home games.
“The whole plan for the Foundation has been very well thought out by a group who really cares about young people, and we believe we have created a location where a lot of learning will take place,” Reider said. “My role is really just to set up the infrastructure of the organization to ensure that the kids are being served. The truly important roles are those of the folks who will work directly with the students.”
The core staff will be made up of volunteers from the greater Bakersfield community, including retired teachers, employees of Oildale-based businesses and many others. The Jam’s players and coaches will also be intimately involved in the Education Foundation, interacting with the students on a regular basis.
“Our after-school program is a great opportunity for our staff and players to give back to the community,” said Jam head coach Will Voigt. “It is important that our players understand the impact they can have on these kids, and I know that they are excited to be involved.”
The Jam will kick off the operation of the Education Foundation in February with a group of 20 students from Standard Middle School, which is located less than two miles from the team’s headquarters and the new Jam Events Center in Oildale. The participants will be bused to the Events Center after their school day, and returned to the school at the program’s conclusion.
A new group of 20 students will have the chance to participate in the program each month for the remainder of the school year, at which point the Foundation will switch to a summer schedule. Within two or three years, the Jam intends to have as many as 100 kids participating in the program at any given time.
The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league whose teams have direct affiliations to NBA franchises. For the 2009-10 season, the league will feature 16 teams – including the debut of the Maine Red Claws and the Springfield Armor. A proven developer of talent, 20 percent of players in the NBA at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season boasted NBA D-League experience, while the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the season fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA Futurecast, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at nba.com/futurecast.