Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Finalist: Tobias Harris

As a longtime advocate for social justice, Tobias Harris has been particularly focused on eliminating inequities within school systems that have historically harmed young people of color.

As a longtime advocate for social justice, Tobias Harris has been particularly focused on eliminating inequities within school systems that have historically harmed young people of color.

This year through the Tobias Harris Charitable Fund, he awarded $300,000 to The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia to recruit teachers from HBCUs or diverse backgrounds – who are more likely to carry higher student loan balances following graduation – and provide relocation stipends.

Harris also created Tobias’ Top Teachers program to assist in the recruitment and retention of Black male teachers by helping fund 55 professional development workshops and providing 800 teachers with needed classroom supplies.

Additionally, through his Lit Labs program that focuses on improving reading scores among students of diverse backgrounds, he distributed 30,000 books to 8,000 Philadelphia children to prevent summer reading gaps and helped improve the average rate gain for 1st and 2nd graders over a four-week period by 240 percent.

Throughout 2020, Harris used his voice and platform to speak out against systemic injustice and racism, marching in protest of police brutality, calling for reform while in the NBA Bubble and reflecting on racial injustice in The Players Tribune.

With actionable change at the center of his efforts, Harris led conversations with teammates and helped launch the VOTE 76 initiative to encourage civic engagement. He was also named as one of two player representatives to the NBA Foundation board, which aims to create greater economic opportunity for Black youth through employment and career advancement.

Harris has selected Fund for the School District of Philadelphia as the recipient of his donation.

Tobias Harris: “It’s a huge honor to be selected in that group with all those guys. For me, education for our youth has been a huge focal point that I’d like to get involved in. Being that I play in Philadelphia and that’s where I live, I want to really get down to the roots of the school system and find a way that I can make an impact and help the kids out in the Philadelphia area. Education has always been a huge focal point for me and the things that I do in terms of philanthropy, and to be selected as a finalist for that award is an amazing honor for me.”

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