Jrue and Lauren Holiday host a Thanksgiving event in New Orleans

Jrue and Lauren Holiday honored by Greater New Orleans Foundation for philanthropic efforts

by Jim Eichenhofer

While helping to lead New Orleans back into playoff contention this season, Jrue Holiday was the Pelicans’ third-leading scorer and top perimeter defender. But what he and his wife Lauren are doing this offseason promises to make a greater, long-lasting impact on the Crescent City and beyond.

After the Holidays donated Jrue’s entire 2019-20 NBA restart salary of $5 million-plus to a combination of organizations and businesses in multiple cities, Jrue and Lauren were honored Monday by the Greater New Orleans Foundation for their generosity. Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development Swin Cash accepted the honor on their behalf during GNOF’s annual “Celebration of Black Philanthropy.” The event is traditionally held each August, but was hosted virtually in 2020 and moved to September due to recent major hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.

The Jrue and Lauren Holiday Fund was established this summer and committed to donate $1.5 million to organizations and businesses in New Orleans; $1 million in Indianapolis where Lauren is from; and $1.5 million in Los Angeles and Compton. An additional $1 million will be given to Black-owned small businesses in 10 U.S. cities and $500,000 will go to historically Black colleges and universities.

“I’ve only been in New Orleans for a year so far,” Cash said during Monday’s event, “but I can tell you one thing: It’s been amazing to watch how Jrue and Lauren have committed not only their resources and time to our youth, but now taking it a step further.”

The longest-tenured current Pelicans player, Jrue joined the franchise in a 2013 trade and has now spent seven seasons in New Orleans. The guard has appeared in 415 career games with the Pelicans, ranking him fourth in team history in that category. Off the court, he and his wife have consistently contributed to the Crescent City, with Lauren and daughter J.T. also becoming familiar faces at home games in the Smoothie King Center. Lauren is a former USA women’s soccer standout, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion.

“I’m super proud to have been around and worked with Lauren and Jrue this year,” Cash said. “It’s been amazing to watch them move as a family and as a unit, and their commitment to not only their faith, but also to their community. I am so happy to see that they are continuing the work, even after the spotlights are gone from the season.”

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