PORTLAND, Ore. (September 22, 2020) – The Portland Trail Blazers and Trail Blazers Foundation announced the organization’s Racial Injustice Fund committed to fighting racial injustices, racial inequities and racism at a local and national level. An initial donation of $200,000 was split between both local and national organizations fighting for racial justice and police reform.
The Racial Injustice Initiative will leverage the organization’s position, platform, resources and influence with the goal of creating a safe, secure quality of life for everyone in the communities they are a part of. Fans are invited to join the Trail Blazers, staff, and players, who seeded the initial donations, by making a financial contribution to the Trail Blazers Foundation Racial Injustice Fund. One hundred percent of donations in this fund will go to the nonprofit organizations working in this space and donations are tax-deductible.
“The Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter are committed to fighting for racial justice and we will continue to use our platform to help create the safe, secure quality of life we all deserve,” said Chris McGowan, President & CEO of the Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter. “We have a responsibility to amplify the voices of our fans, players and staff to create positive change.”
The following 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and network have been chosen to receive the initial investment from the Trail Blazers Foundation’s Racial Injustice Fund:
Local nonprofit recipients:
- Beyond Black – a culturally specific Black community development corporation focusing on creating healthy communities and working on projects that socially, physically, economically and culturally benefit the Black community in East Multnomah County
- Word is Bond – a local nonprofit working to rewrite the narrative between Black men and law enforcement through leadership development, critical dialogue and education with a vision for every young Black man to have the leadership skills to make a positive difference in their life and community
- Y.O.U.th – an organization with a mission to motivate, inspire, and empower youth, family and educators to dismantle the school to prison pipeline by challenging existing systems and structures through their program #BooksNotBarsOR in educational settings, parent engagement classes, events and raising awareness through a digital marketing campaign
- National nonprofit recipients:
- Movement for Black Lives – The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing
- Black Futures Lab – An organization that works with Black people to transform communities, build Black political power and change the way that power operates—locally, statewide and nationally with a mission to engage Black voters year-round; use its political strength to stop corporate influences from creeping into progressive policies and combine technology and traditional organizing methods to reach Black people anywhere and everywhere
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)- America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans
- National Black Justice Coalition – The leading national Black LGBTQ/SGL civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS with a mission is to end racism, homophobia and LGBTQ/SGL bias and stigma through federal public policy
Since its inception in 2009, the Trail Blazers Foundation has donated more than $7 million to nonprofits across Oregon and SW Washington that positively impact the lives of children and families who have been historically underserved where they live, learn and play.
In addition, the Trail Blazers have committed to empowering the Black community at a national level by partnering with the NBA Board of Governors and first-ever NBA Foundation. The NBA Foundation, launched in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association, will drive economic empowerment for Black communities through employment and career development by partnering with organizations that focus on three critical employment points: Obtaining a first job, securing employment after college and career advancement after employed.
Over the next 10 years, the 30 NBA team owners will collectively contribute $300 million annually to establish this new, leaguewide charitable foundation. Jody Allen, Chair, Trail Blazers, has made the Trail Blazers’ initial $1 million donation and will continue to donate $1 million for the next nine years to enhance and grow the work of national and local organizations dedicated to education and employment.
“We are committed to continue the fight against institutional and systemic racism within our community,” said Ashley Clinkscale, Senior Vice President of Communications, Community and Diversity. “We will continue to use our resources until we see change, and we encourage our fans and supporters to use their own voices to positively impact their communities.”
Civic participation is one of the most critical components of democracy and voting is also an opportunity for fans to use their voice to help determine the future of the community, state and country. The Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter deems voting as a civic duty and has launched a voting initiative, providing resources for fans to make sure they are registered to vote, can sign up for election reminders and can be included in the 2020 census. Additional information can be found at trailblazers.com/vote.
The Trail Blazers will work toward census and voting efforts in the following ways:
- Partner with non-partisan nonprofits and state and county agencies to amplify their outreach efforts
- Join Rally the Vote, a non-partisan coalition of professional sports teams, When We All Vote, and Rise to Vote to educate staff and fans on voting via various channels
- Create content series to share relevant content leading up to the national election and support with ongoing promotional messaging
- Engage Trail Blazers personalities in campaign videos and voting messaging
- Encourage and educate employees to participate by closing the office on November 3 and communicating important deadlines
ABOUT THE PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Members of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Portland Trail Blazers were founded in 1970 and purchased by the late Paul G. Allen in 1988. The team's rich heritage includes 36 playoff appearances, three trips to the NBA Finals, an NBA championship in 1977 and a commitment to community service and sustainability. The Trail Blazers are dedicated to positively impacting underserved kids and their families throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington where they live, learn and play. Portland is the first and only professional sports franchise to receive the prestigious National Points of Light Award for excellence in corporate and community service. The Trail Blazers home arena, Moda Center, is the first existing arena to earn LEED Platinum Certification in 2019 after receiving LEED Gold Recertification in 2015 and becoming the first existing professional sports venue in the world to receive LEED Gold status in 2010. The team is also one of the founding members of the Green Sports Alliance. For more information, visit trailblazers.com.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS FOUNDATION
The Trail Blazers Foundation is dedicated to positively impacting the lives of kids and families who have been historically underserved where they live, learn and play across Oregon and Southwest Washington. The Trail Blazers Foundation gives grants to nonprofits, schools and youth and is funded through meaningful corporate partnerships, revenue from Trail Blazers license plate sales, 5050 raffle sales, as well as other fundraising efforts. The Trail Blazers and Trail Blazers Foundation gave more than $1.2 million to nonprofits and schools during the 2019-20 season.More information is available at www.trailblazers.com/foundation