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Grizzlies and Grizzlies Charitable Foundation named Sport Team of the Year

for Beyond Sport Awards 2012

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

MEMPHIS, July 26, 2012– The Memphis Grizzlies organization and Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation announced that they have been named the winner of the prestigious Sport Team of the Year for the Beyond Sport Awards 2012. The Grizzlies received the award at a ceremony in London, England on Wednesday morning after being named as one of 30 shortlisted organizations from almost 300 projects worldwide in early May.

“To be recognized today by Beyond Sport as the Sport Team of the Year for 2012 for our community work in Memphis marks one of the proudest days I have had as the owner of the Memphis Grizzlies,” Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley explained. “This award is a culmination of the hard work and dedication of our local ownership group, along with our team of players, coaches and front office staff, and I cannot thank them enough. Since Day one in Memphis, our goal as a franchise has been to become an integral part of this Memphis community and this award shows that we are having an impact.”

The Grizzlies Community Investment team and the Grizzlies Foundation joined the Boston Celtics (United States), Queens Park Rangers FC (United Kingdom), Tottenham Hotspur (United Kingdom) and RIHP NTH QLD Rubies (Australia) as finalists in the “Sport Team of the Year” category.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be named the Sport Team of the Year for this year’s Beyond Sports Awards. This year, we presented the combined work of the Grizzlies Foundation and the Memphis Grizzlies Community Investment efforts, both which operate initiatives and outreach to advance education and youth development in the Memphis region,” said Jenny Koltnow, Executive Director of Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation.  “We’re grateful to our Grizzlies colleagues and partners throughout Memphis who’ve helped us achieve this milestone.”

The Grizzlies TEAM UP Youth Mentoring initiative, presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., Grizzlies Read to Achieve, presented by International Paper, and Grizzlies Healthy Home Court initiatives, presented by Kellogg’s, were highlighted in this year’s application, as were partnerships with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, among others. Over 25,000 youth are served each year through these combined efforts and for the second time in team history, the Grizzlies led the NBA in community/marketing events in the local community.

"It is such a great honor that our community investment initiatives are recognized by such a prestigious award. We are grateful to be able to serve thousands of Mid-South area youth annually through our Read to Achieve and Healthy Home Court initiatives," Director of Community Investment Teresa Dickerson said. "This recognition would not have been possible without our generous team of players and coaches, who volunteer their limited spare time at these events for the betterment of the Memphis community." 

Koltnow was on-hand to represent the Grizzlies organization in London, England for the Beyond Sport Summit and Awards from July 23-25.  The Summit, an annual event that brings together the best sport-led social innovators with influential global leaders, provides a platform for the Grizzlies Foundation to continue to develop the Grizzlies TEAM UP initiative and yield new resources for the Grizzlies’ community investment programs.  The event culminated with the announcement of the winners of the Beyond Sport Awards 2012.

As a nominated project, the Grizzlies also received additional support and opportunities leading up to the Summit, including a media and promotional pack to help spread the word and gain recognition for the nomination and eligibility to specific funding and support opportunities available through Beyond Sport’s clients and partners specifically for Awards nominees.

Founded in 2004, the Grizzlies Foundation recruits and refers mentors, provides training and technical assistance to mentoring programs and actively raises awareness throughout the community.  The Grizzlies Foundation has donated over $28.5 million to Memphis-area nonprofit organizations since its inception.  In addition, the Grizzlies Foundation will open Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School, an all-boys college preparatory public middle school in Downtown Memphis, in late July 2012. To learn more about the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation and how to become part of the Grizzlies TEAM UP youth mentoring  initiative e-mail, call (901) 205-TEAM or visit 

The mission of the Memphis Grizzlies Community Investment department is to create opportunities for area youth through community outreach, education and sport development initiatives. For more information on the Memphis Grizzlies and Grizzlies Community Investment, please visit, ‘like’ Memphis Grizzlies on Facebook or follow @memgrizz on Twitter.

Beyond Sport is a global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sport to create positive social change across the world.  The Beyond Sport Awards program provides a package of funding and business support annually to projects across the world that use sport to address issues within their communities.  For more information, visit