Thursday in South Philadelphia, the 76ers hosted their annual Sixers Youth Foundation Gala.
The result? More than $1.5 million raised for the youth of Camden, Philadelphia, and the Greater Delaware Valley.
“We’re so excited to be able to help Philly,” 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris said at the gala. “We have a lot of history with the city, and with the Sixers and with the Sixers Youth Foundation, we can do a lot of good.
“We’re paying it forward, it’s really exciting. If people hadn’t paid it forward for us, we wouldn’t be here. So it’s our pleasure to give back.”
The gala, which featured a silent auction and performances from the Sixers’ own Danuel House Jr., DJ Jazzy Jeff, and the Sugarhill Gang, reached its fundraising goal well before doors opened.
“I feel so inspired by this organization,” Sixers Youth Foundation Chair Marjorie Harris said. “I think it really allows the whole organization to feel like something bigger.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity for us to really hone in, dig deep, and figure out how to give the kids of this city a great opportunity to do whatever they need to do to succeed.”
The Sixers players, coaches, staff, and ownership were all in attendance.
“We have a lot of people who are invested in these programs, a lot of people who care about kids growing up being able to have access to resources and opportunities,” Shake Milton said. “I think it’s important to continue to try to pour into our youth and pour into the people that are going to be building and leading this country one day.”
Georges Niang sees himself in the young people supported by the foundation’s initiatives.
“Basketball was huge for me growing up,” Niang said. “It was definitely a direct avenue to success for me. So if these after school programs, and everything that they do with this money can help a kid have direction of their own, I would consider that a huge success.”
Reflecting on the evening, Matisse Thybulle was honored to step into a role once served by other professional athletes during his own childhood.
“Often times I forget what it was like to meet an NBA player when I was a kid. We have the opportunity because of our fans to have a platform, so to come back and give back a little bit in small gestures like this, I think, is the least we can do.”
For more information on the Sixers Youth Foundation, visit sixersyouthfoundation.org.