Donovan Mitchell wins Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award

Greenwich Country Day School has some notable names on its list of distinguished alumni.

There is one, though, who seems to be a favorite among the current students and teachers on campus.

“We’ve had one President of the United States,” head of school Adam Rohdie boasts. “And I would put Donovan Mitchell right up there with him as one of our most cherished alums. Everybody here loves him.”

The Utah Jazz guard has become an All-Star on the basketball court and a powerful force for good and change early in his career. Over the past six months, Mitchell has championed social justice and education, using his platform to speak out against racism and inequity. He has also backed his words financially, most recently pledging $12 million to Greenwich Country Day, his alma mater and the school where his mother taught for more than a decade.

For his efforts, Mitchell has received the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.

“I’m honored,” Mitchell said. “We, as athletes, have a responsibility to do our part to give back to our communities and raise the bar for the next generation. Not too long ago I was one of those kids that looked up to professional athletes, and I recognize how blessed I am to be in this position to give back to the multiple communities that have contributed to my growth not only as an athlete but as a person. My goal is to continue to inspire and encourage youth, from coast to coast with an emphasis on the importance of education.”

The Mitchell family announced their gift to Greenwich Country Day last month after the guard signed a max contract extension with the Utah Jazz. The gift will be used in three different ways:

• Need-based scholarships will be given to students. “We want to take kids from less-fortunate areas who may not have the means to go to a private school,” Mitchell said.

• The Nicole Mitchell Support Fund will start with a $1 million endowment and begin by offering an additional $30,000 to select teachers who show the passion, enthusiasm, love of children and optimism Nicole Mitchell always showed in her classroom.

• A new gymnasium and basketball court, the Determination Over Negativity Mitchell Family Athletic Center, will also be built on the Connecticut school’s campus.

“I kind of always knew Donovan was going to do something. That’s the kind of person he is,” Rohdie said of the donation. “Donovan is the kind of man who never forgets where he came from and who helped him along the way. He’s been connected with our school throughout his entire journey.”

But Mitchell’s community contributions don’t stop there.

The guard also donated the proceeds from his adidas D.O.N. Issue #2 sneakers to support the education of students of color at the University of Louisville, teachers at preschools in Connecticut and the Bronx, and the education Jacob Blake’s children. Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by police in Wisconsin in August. Mitchell’s donations totaled more than $300,000 in scholarships and academic assistance.

Mitchell has also been a voice of progress in Utah and the United States. The guard frequently spoke out against police brutality and racial injustice over the past year. He continued that conversation when he joined now-Vice President Kamala Harris for a roundtable discussion with other NBA stars.

Mitchell was given his Community Assist award during a virtual presentation this week. He will also be honored during tonight’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.

The award will mean an additional donation of $10,000 on Mitchell’s behalf to The Children’s Village in New York.

“He already has an incredible legacy,” Rohdie said. “He’s an amazing basketball player but an even better human being. I think that’s why he’s resonated with fans in Utah and, quite honestly, across the country.”