The Philadelphia 76ers have dished out 1,682 assists on the court this season, but it is a series of off-the-court assists that the organization is currently making that will be most significant and most impactful.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Josh Harris and David Blitzer — co-founders of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment (HBSE), which owns both the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils — have stepped up to help their communities in the areas of hunger relief, education and supporting the medical community with multi-million dollar commitments to organizations across the cities of Philadelphia, Camden and Newark.
“As so many around the country look to their neighbors for help, I’m proud of the Sixers for being a part of our city’s unified COVID-19 response effort,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told NBA.com. “Their support for the most vulnerable in Philadelphia — providing technology for children learning at home, meals to people experiencing hunger, and aid for healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis — is an example of not just corporate citizenship, but of brotherly love.”
Feeding the Hungry
On Monday, Harris, Blitzer, the Sixers and the Sixers Youth Foundation made a six-figure donation to Philabundance – a local nonprofit organization aimed at feeding the hungry in the Philadelphia community. The Sixers’ donation will be used to provide 20,000 boxes of food that will feed 160,000 people during this critical time of need.
“This amazing show of support from the 76ers and its leadership will go a long way to helping us continue to purchase food and distribute it to our network of partners to help feed those in need,” said Philabundance Executive Director, Glenn Bergman.
Philabundance is part of ‘The Philly Pledge,’ a group that Sixers star Ben Simmons helped establish last week to highlight verified non-profit organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area that are helping during the COVID-19 crisis.
Providing Meals during this time is essential. Thank you 🙌🏽 https://t.co/qEzZ0yEttx
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) March 30, 2020
Last Friday, HBSE and the Devils Care Foundation made a six-figure donation to the city of Newark for a program that provides groceries to city families in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This food relief program, which will benefit thousands of families in Newark, would not have been possible without a critical donation from Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment and the New Jersey Devils,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in a statement.
Computers for Students
On Monday, HBSE and the Sixers funded the purchase of 10,000 Chromebook computers for students of the School District of Philadelphia to help make distance learning possible for all students, as school closures have been extended indefinitely.
“Josh Harris, David Blitzer and the entire Sixers organization have been great partners to the District over the years with the team’s focus on supporting the youth in our region,” said Donna Frisby Greenwood, President & CEO of the Fund. “We’re impressed that they stepped up this quickly to help purchase the computers that are urgently needed for our students.”
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) March 30, 2020
Supplies for Medical Personnel
On Monday, HBSE and the Devils donated supplies from the Prudential Center to the RWJBarnabas Health Foundation to be distributed to 13 hospitals in their network across the state. This included nearly 7,000 pairs of gloves, more than 10,000 hand sanitizer units, soap, sprays, wipes and cleaning supplies.
In addition to giving the supplies that were on hand at the Devils’ home arena, the team also made a significant financial contribution to the RWJBarnabas Health Emergency Response Fund. The donation will be used to purchase critical materials for RWJBarnabas Health workers, including personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirators and surgical masks, gloves, gowns, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, eye protection and other necessary medical equipment, such as ventilators.
“We are incredibly thankful and appreciative for the generous donation from Josh Harris, David Blitzer and the New Jersey Devils,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer, RWJBarnabas Health. “Our team members are extremely dedicated and selfless. It is our obligation to ensure the best protection as they perform their truly heroic work and this donation will help to provide them with the resources necessary to stay safe and care for our patients.”
This donation will help RWJBarnabas purchase much-needed PPE for its frontline health responders. pic.twitter.com/AdGbQEw077
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 1, 2020
Donations to Local Hospitals
The generosity from Harris and Blitzer continued on Thursday with a pair of important donations to support both Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Cooper Hospital in Camden, N.J.
A six-figure donation to the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia will support the frontline staff and provide more than 5,000 telemedicine visits per week in order to provide children the care they need during this crisis.
“At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the well-being of our patients and families is our highest priority. The funds from this generous donation ensure that we can fulfill our mission of providing high-quality healthcare for all children, in all circumstances. Thank you to Josh Harris, David Blitzer and the entire 76ers organization for thinking of us as we navigate these unchartered waters and support the families of our community,” Madeline Bell, President and CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said in a statement.
In Camden, Harris, Blitzer and the Sixers organization made a significant donation to the Cooper University Health Care’s COVID-19 Assistance Fund, which will go towards the purchase of critical equipment and supplies, including PPE for frontline health workers and critically needed medical equipment, such as ventilators.
“We are incredibly thankful and appreciative of the generous donation and also the tremendous partnership we have developed with Josh Harris, David Blitzer and the Philadelphia 76ers to support our community,” said Kevin O’Dowd, JD, Co-President/CEO of Cooper.