Since his NBA debut in 2005, Chris Paul has helped turn multiple NBA franchises into winners. He’s the only player in NBA history to be a part of four different teams’ franchise records for wins in a season (New Orleans in 2007-08, the LA Clippers in 2013-14, the Houston Rockets in 2017-18 and the Phoenix Suns in 2021-22).
Off the court, Paul has had a similarly transformative impact as he and his Chris Paul Family Foundation (founded in 2005 in honor of his late grandfather, Nathaniel Jones) work to support young people in the communities he’s called home over the years.
Paul has utilized a multifaceted approach to uplift communities, much as he’s uplifted his NBA franchises on the court.
“Obviously, we’re extremely proud of the way Chris and the foundation have impacted all of the communities that he’s played or lived in. We leave our footprint when we go into a community,” said Carmen Wilson, chief operating officer of all things in the off-court Chris Paul ecosystem.
“We immediately find organizations that have synergy with the Foundation, and help them elevate and enhance whatever services and initiatives they already have.”
Through the foundation, Paul is working to create sustainable change across the country by bestowing trust, counsel and opportunity to Black youth.
One of the foundation’s efforts, Club 61, is a leadership initiative that brings roughly 50 kids from the markets Paul has played in to Los Angeles. These children take part in a week of immersive leadership guidance in different areas including community, business, academics and finance — all while getting to do some networking and socializing, too.
More specifically, these youth come from the organizations Paul continues to support via finances and resources, even though he’s not in those cities any more. The groups include Brotherhood Crusade (located in Los Angeles), the Boys and Girls Club of Winston-Salem, Project Alpha of Phoenix and the Robert Pack Foundation in New Orleans. (Pack played in the NBA from 1991-2004 and was on New Orleans’ staff as an assistant coach in 2009-10 when Paul played there.)
With Club 61, Paul seeks to share the life lessons and legacy of his late grandfather, Wilson said.
Jones opened the first African-American owned service station in the state of North Carolina. Paul and his brother, CJ, worked there as young people, learning life lessons that would provide the leadership imprint for them to follow.
Did you know? – Papa Chilly set the standard for everything we do. From his work ethic to his heart, we aim to always make him proud. pic.twitter.com/i7zf0kASGf
— Chris Paul Family Foundation (@chrispaulfamfdn) February 9, 2023
“Club 61 was created with the memory of his grandfather who is really important to him,” Wilson said. “He feels like a lot of the qualities that he’s been able to showcase comes from that relationship, so he wants to pass it onto other kids, the same way that his grandfather did for him.”
Paul’s foundation also does expansive work in education, most notably with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
I’m extremely proud of the work our Foundation has accomplished over the years. The impact we’ve been able to have over the course of my career is meaningful to me and my family”
Chris Paul, on his foundation
There may not be another athlete alive who champions HBCUs as consistently and effectively as Paul, which is reflected in the fact that he is the only athlete appointed to President Joe Biden’s HBCU council, joining educators and presidents from HBCUs to help “provide the highest-quality education to its students and continue serving as engines of opportunity.”
Paul helped launch a Business of Entertainment, Media and Sports class at North Carolina A&T with Harvard Business School with professor Anita Elberse in 2019. The class is also offered at Southern University and plans are in place to add the class to other HBCUs, Wilson said.
Paul has also been able to endow a scholarship at Wake Forest University in his grandfather‘s name for two students each year who are residents of his home area West Forsyth county, Wilson said. The scholarship gives students gifted in academics and athletics the opportunity to attend Wake Forest.
Additionally, Paul graduated from his hometown HBCU, Winston Salem State University, with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication in December of 2022.
Paul’s investment in Black youth across the country was best told in a story relayed by Wilson about Sydney Lawson. After attending North Carolina A&T — and taking Paul’s course — Lawson was hired as the foundation’s project manager, handling the day-to-day execution of the foundation’s work.
Paul says he is proud of his foundation’s many accomplishments.
“I’m extremely proud of the work our Foundation has accomplished over the years. The impact we’ve been able to have over the course of my career is meaningful to me and my family,” he said.
Through the support of nonprofit organizations across the country, his own Foundation’s initiatives, his championing of HBCUs, and Club 61, there’s irrefutable evidence the impact Paul has made to Black youth through these programs is only getting stronger.
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If you’d like to support the Chris Paul Family Foundation, find them here