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Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley donates $200,000 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Each stop in Mike Conley’s journey made an impact on the man he would become.
Arkansas, where he was born and raised. Indianapolis, where he was schooled. Ohio, where he played his college ball. Memphis, where he became one of the NBA’s best. And Utah, where he has found a new home.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted each of those places. So this week Conley has donated $200,000 to benefit the communities that helped shape him. The donation will help fight homelessness and food insecurity and improve remote learning.
“This time has given me a new lens to look through,” Conley said. “COVID-19 is hitting literally everybody. Everybody is being affected, whether it’s directly, or with family members or friends who have passed, or from job loss. It’s hitting every aspect of our lives.”
Conley’s donation will be distributed among six different organizations:
• The Utah Food Bank in Salt Lake City will be able to provide the equivalent of more than 194,000 meals thanks to the gift.
• CodeCrew in Memphis will use the funds to acquire lost-cost broadband internet services and laptops to assist students with distance learning.
• Community Shelter Board in Columbus, Ohio, will be able to provide masks for staff members and clients experiencing homelessness to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus. The donation will also provide personal protective equipment for staff working in isolation and quarantine shelters.
• The Columbus Urban League in Ohio will be able to meet the food needs of some 350 disadvantaged families.
• The Indianapolis Public Schools Foundation will use a portion of the donation to provide internet for students and professional development for teachers in the state’s largest school district.
• The New Haven Missionary Baptist Church in West Helena, Ark., will be able to provide person protective equipment for people in the Arkansas Delta.
“It’s a perfect opportunity to give back,” Conley said. “I’ve always been one to think about our communities and our future. We can all benefit by having someone fight for us. I’ve always tried to be that person, to be able to do something good in a time when not a lot of good things are happening.”
Conley’s donation is aligned with the NBA Together’s “Acts of Caring” platform, a global campaign launched in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The donation is one of many charitable efforts from Conley and his teammates during the past two months.
Last month, Conley won the NBA HORSE challenge, which involved more than $200,000 in donations to charities focused on COVID-19 response efforts. Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert has donated to relief efforts in France and to arena workers in Utah affected by the pandemic. All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell contributed to a Utah school district to provide meals for students while schools are shut down. And forward Joe Ingles has contributed to Utah hospitality workers affected by the crisis.
“You just feel a sense of pride being part of an organization that cares so much about its communities,” Conely said. “Guys are doing their best to reach out and be that helping hand. It says a lot about our leadership and organization and the values they instill. It’s easy to fall in line and want to be a part of that. I’m just proud to be part of an organization that cares.”