The NBA Foundation’s latest round of life-changing grants coincides with Black History Month. While fitting, NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor makes it clear.
“Every month is Black History Month,” he said.
“This is an ongoing effort that builds on the NBA’s long-standing history of being engaged in social justice and civil rights regardless of whatever month we do the grant making in.”
The latest round of grants from the NBA Foundation includes 31 organizations total. Twelve of the 31 are receiving grant renewals and 19 of these organizations are first time recipients of a grant from the NBA Foundation.
Let’s take a deeper look into some of the impactful organizations that the NBA Foundation is supporting this year.
Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough
Partners of the Toronto Raptors, the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough seeks a holistic approach as it supports children, youth and families to pursue healthy lifestyles, personal competency, self-esteem, social and cultural integration, and a sense of belonging.
“Through this funding opportunity and partnership with NBA Foundation, BGC East Scarborough, and MAAT Youth Innovation & Cultural Center can sustainably provide culturally competent wrap-around supports to emerging Black Youth Leaders navigating systemic barriers to employment and academic bridging.” said Utcha Sawyers, Chief Executive Officer of BGC East Scarborough.
“Together, this partnership strengthens the community’s impact on our leaders of tomorrow.”
Taylor called BGC East Scarborough “first in class.”
“One of the things that’s really important to the NBA Foundation is we look at the issues affecting Black people holistically, and BGC East Scarborough’s career program does just tat. They provide mentorship, wraparound services, and workforce development skills for those participating young people.” he said
Community alliance of the Far East Side (CAFE)
Partners of the Indiana Pacers, Community Alliance of the Far Eastside was founded in the 1980s. According to their web site, their mission is “to enhance the quality of life on Indianapolis’ Far Eastside”.
CAFE has a variety of programming with a focus on providing comprehensive job readiness, career development, education and skills training as well as career placement.
“The funding from the NBA Foundation serves as an intricate piece to the growth and sustainability of our young adults by providing workforce opportunities to establish self-sufficiency through employment with livable wages,” CEO Kendra Nowell said of receiving a grant from the NBA Foundation.
When asked about CAFE, Taylor was particularly in awe of their job readiness model.
“We’re excited about their comprehensive model, we know that’s what is required to prepare young people – particularly black youth — to be successful in business going forward,” he said. “This job readiness program is a real example and shining star in that community.”
Youth Empowerment for Advancement Hangout (YEAH Philly)
Partners of the Philadelphia 76ers, Youth Empowerment For Advancement Hangout is a Black-led, community-based nonprofit founded in 2018 by Kendra Van de Water and James Aye.
Understanding the correlation between poverty, opportunity and violence, YEAH provides services to address the short and long-term needs of teens to transition into adulthood and live fulfilling lives. Utilizing teen action, YEAH works to interrupt the cycle of youth community violence in West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods through peer-led mediation and conflict resolution, community engagement, and economic opportunities.
“We’re living in a time where violence in Philly is at an all time high, with people and communities not being invested in the way they need to be.” Van De Water said.
“This funding not only allows us to provide more teens and young adults with long term skills and employment opportunities, but to also address crucial and immediate needs such as food, housing, clothes, and vital documents, because we can’t thrive without these things and young people deserve better.”
Taylor praised YEAH Philly’s job development program, saying it “really takes into account what young people need and have, to effectively help them develop the skills they need to go forward.”
Partners of the Milwaukee Bucks, MKE Fellows is a powerful initiative offering support to academically talented, Black young men from Milwaukee to ensure that they graduate from college prepared for career success. This program continues to grow and see successful Black leaders emerge and return to Milwaukee.
It emphasizes the grooming of a strong pipeline of young, Black male college graduates ready to return to Milwaukee and other parts of the state to excel in their careers, build wealth, become engaged leaders, and to give back to other young men around them.
“We could not create the meaningful change that we do without the partnerships of organizations like the NBA Foundation who see the potential in our young men.” Alive MK President and CEO John Daniels said.
“These funds will directly impact and further develop the lives of countless students leading to a much more inclusive and prosperous future for our cities.”
When prompted to speak about Alive MKE, Taylor said: “It’s a graduate college-access workforce development program that focuses on providing mentorship and wraparound services and job placement skills for young people in the Milwaukee community.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to support them.”
These are just four out of the 31 newest grantees from the NBA Foundation, and Taylor’s leadership guarantees that positive and meaningful work will continue to be done. He put it best, in terms of summing up the ethos that drives the NBA Foundation to change lives:
“What we’re trying to do at the NBA Foundation, is to highlight the tremendous genius and leadership skills of black young people, which we think is consistent with what our history is all about,” Taylor said. “We know that it’s about resources and opportunities, and that the genius of these young people to lead and contribute to society, is already present in who they are.”
Full List of NBA Foundation Grantees:
African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO)
AYCO is a culturally-specific 501(c)3 organization led by and for the East African immigrant and refugee community in Portland, Oregon. Our mission is to settle the past, engage the present, and hope for the future. We envision a future where a strong cultural identity within immigrant communities creates a thriving, resilient, and self-determining community here in Oregon.
After School Matters’ mission is to provide Chicago public high school teens opportunities to explore and develop their talents, while gaining critical skills for work, college, and beyond.
ALIVE MKE’s mission is to “Empower Passionate People to Pursue their Purpose.”
BGC East Scarborough’s mission is to be a trusted partner building successful families in our community by providing a safe, supportive place where children and youth and families experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, develop positive relationships and life skills.
The Bing Youth Institute’s (BYI) mission is to cultivate men who embrace the idea of developing a nurturing, trusting, open and honest relationship with a young boy of color through mentoring. BYI’s mentoring model, BINGO, is designed to change the trajectory of boys of color.
Black Men Build gives Black men the tools necessary to be a powerful force for good in our communities.
The Campaign Against Hunger’s mission is to empower its neighbors to live healthier, more productive, and self-sufficient lives by increasing their access to safe, nutritious food and related resources.
Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE)
CAFÉ’s mission is to enhance the quality of life on Indianapolis’ Far Eastside.
EducationWorks’ PowerCorpsPHL (PCPHL) connects people to careers and advances community. PCPHL engages out-of-school or out-of-work 18- to 30-year-olds in an immersive, paid 4- to 24-month program that results in connection to living wage jobs in clean energy, green infrastructure, and community-based careers.
Through collective action to meet basic human needs, For the Kingdom provides development opportunities and demonstrates agape love to all individuals and their families.
Freedom House is building economic, racial and social equity in our communities through education and leadership development.
Give Merit exists to enhance and extend educational opportunities to underserved youth through innovative enrichment, mentorship, and athletic activities.
Lights Camera Discover’s mission is to provide free, accessible, and effective Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) programming leading to secondary education and then onto STEAM careers with the goal of breaking the cycle in multi-generational poverty.
Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade – Black United Fund, Inc.
Brotherhood Crusade was founded in 1968. The organization’s principal mission is to champion equality and equity by removing and/or helping individuals overcome the barriers that deter their pursuit of success in life by facilitating opportunities and youth development programs that positively change the trajectory of their development.
SoHarlem’s mission is to create equitable opportunities as a placed-based Cultural Industries Incubator in Harlem dedicated to creativity and economic development as a way to address racial inequities and ensure a vibrant future for artists and our local community. Through ongoing, evolving partnerships with individuals in the creative community, along with public and private entities, we provide a wide range of services to our fellow New Yorkers helping them achieve economic self-sufficiency. We have demonstrated that social cohesion is critical to addressing the needs of our community, bringing people together to create and learn at the intersection of the arts with economic development.
Shooting Touch is an international sport-for-development organization whose mission is to use the mobilizing power of basketball to bridge health and opportunity gaps for youth and women facing racial, gender, and economic inequalities.
The mission of UrbanPromise is to equip Camden’s children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and Christian leadership. For 35 years, Camden’s diverse youth have been growing and thriving in UrbanPromise’s supportive and educational community, one that challenges them to build the skills they need to achieve the goals they envison for themselves.
Walker West Music Academy creates a music learning community rooted in the African- American cultural experience, where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather, explore, and grow through music.
Youth Empowerment for Advancement Hangout (YEAH Philly)
YEAH creates safe and authentic hangout spaces by providing culturally relevant engagement and implementing teen led interventions to address the root causes of violence. Utilizing teen action, YEAH works to interrupt the cycle of youth community violence in West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods through peer led mediation and conflict resolution, community engagement, and economic opportunities.
The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) works to end mass incarceration. To ensure our communities are safe, healthy, and whole, ARC empowers formerly and currently incarcerated people to thrive by providing a support network, comprehensive reentry services, and opportunities to advocate for policy change.
BMe Community’s mission is to build more caring and prosperous communities inspired by Black people.
For more than 25 years, The Brotherhood Sister Sol has been at the forefront of social justice, educating, organizing and training to challenge inequity and champion opportunity for all. With a focus on Black and Latinx youth, BroSis is where young people claim the power of their history, identity and community to build the future they want to see.
The Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. CDF’s Leave No Child Behind mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
The mission of Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, Inc., a non-profit, multi-service organization, is to foster positive life changes for individuals and families through skills development leading to self-sufficiency, a sense of accountability, and a strong, empowered community.
Improve Your Tomorrow is a non-profit organization focused on increasing the number of young men of color toattend and graduate from colleges and universities by providing transformational mentorship, college advising, andworkforce development opportunities. They envision a world where young men of color are overrepresented inhigher education, underrepresented in the criminal justice system, and leaders in their communities.
National Black MBA Association
The mission of the National Black MBA Association® is to lead in the creation of educational, wealth building, and growth opportunities for those historically underrepresented throughout their careers as students, entrepreneurs and professionals. The NBMBAA is the premier business organization serving Black professionals.
The mission of the National Urban League (NUL) is to help African Americans and others in underserved communities achieve their highest true social parity, economic self- reliance, power, and civil rights. The League promotes economic empowerment through education and job training, housing and community development, workforce development, entrepreneurship, health, and quality of life.
NPower is a national nonprofit, rooted in community, that is committed to advancing race and gender equity in the tech industry. Through 100% free skills training, professional development, real world experience, support and mentorship, NPower graduates launch burgeoning careers and a pathway to financial freedom for themselves and their families.
So Others Might Eat, Inc. (SOME)
SOME provides material aid and comfort to our vulnerable neighbors in the District, helping them break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through programs and services that save lives, improve lives and help transform lives of individuals and families, their communities and the systems and structures that affect them. The mission of SOME CET is to empower people to move themselves out of poverty and into living wage careers through a holistic approach that includes marketable skills training, human development, education, and career services. Learn more at some.org.
Social Justice Learning Institute
The Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI) is dedicated to improving the education, health, and well-being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training and community mobilization.
The Thunder Fellows Program – developed by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Creative Arts Agency (CAA) – aims to unlock new opportunities in sports, entertainment, and technology for Black high school and college students in the Tulsa area.