Sixers Youth Foundation Announces Five New Board Members Ahead of Tonight's Annual Gala

PHILADELPHIA – MARCH. 12, 2018 – Ahead of its annual fundraising gala tonight at The Fillmore Philadelphia, the Sixers Youth Foundation is excited to announce the addition of five new Board Members and the appointment of its new chairperson.

To further develop a best-in-class organization, the Sixers Youth Foundation is adding new members to amplify its efforts and mirror the businesses successes of the Philadelphia 76ers franchise. By adding these talented new members, the Sixers Youth Foundation is best positioned to positively impact the communities it serves. 

The five new board members include: Marjorie Harris, who along with her husband Josh, serves as Managing Partner of the Philadelphia 76ers; Allison Blitzer, who serves as Managing Partner of the 76ers with her husband, David; Elton Brand, a former 76ers great who is now General Manager of the franchise’s NBA G League team, the Delaware 87ers; Ukee Washington, a celebrated and iconic Philadelphia news anchor for CBS 3; Erik Hirsch, Vice Chairman and Head of Strategic Initiatives for Hamilton Lane, a Philadelphia-based alternative investment management firm providing innovative private markets services to sophisticated investors around the world.

Lara Price, 76ers Chief Operating Officer and one of the NBA’s most accomplished executives, will serve as Chairperson of the Sixers Youth Foundation board. Prior to her appointment as Chairperson, the 22-year NBA executive served as President of the Sixers Youth Foundation Board of Directors. 

This successful and innovative group joins existing Sixers Youth Foundation board members Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Chris Heck, 76ers President of Business Operations, Andy Speiser, 76ers Chief Financial Officer, and Brad Shron, 76ers Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Amy Hever, Executive Director of Community Relations for the 76ers organization, serves as Executive Director of the Sixers Youth Foundation.

“We are excited to welcome five incredibly passionate, driven and accomplished individuals to our Board of Directors,” Price said. “Each member has a proven track record of success and the willingness to help drive positive, meaningful change in our community. We believe that our newest board members will partner with our current board members to propel the Sixers Youth Foundation to even greater heights, and help us best leverage the power of sports and entertainment to inspire and educate future generations in the communities where we live, work, and play.” 

Collectively, the Sixers Youth Foundation Board of Directors looks to use the momentum of tonight’s third annual Gala – which will set organizational records for monies raised and attendance – to amplify its grant-making and by partnering with organizations around the Philadelphia and New Jersey area to drive tangible, meaningful change youth.

“It has long been our belief that the game of basketball has the ability to inspire, drive and sustain positive change and growth in our communities,” Heck said. “With the success of tonight’s gala, and the strategy and vision we’ve set forth by growing our Board of Directors, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible. We are excited to expand our reach to those in need in our area, and to have great impact on the social fabric of our community.”

“Through the Sixers Youth Foundation, we’ve charted a plan to help youth cultivate and realize their dreams,” Hever said. “We are deeply dedicated to harnessing the power and influence of sports in ways that further develop the life skills needed to succeed in every step and stage of their lives.”

HARRIS co-founded the Harris Family Charitable Foundation to improve the lives of underserved youth in high-need communities through the power of sports and education. Most recently, the Harris Family Charitable Foundation made a transformational contribution through its work with the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia, where the Harris family donated a record $3.5 million to help the organization expand its impact and reach. Additionally, the Harris Family Charitable Foundation partnered with After-School All-Stars and Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative amongst other organizations - to help children realize their full potential by advancing academic achievement and promoting positive character and physical development.

Harris currently serves on the Board of Directors of WNET, a non-commercial, educational public television station in New York, is a co-chair of AIPAC’s Women’s Executive Council, is a member of the Board of Dean Advisors of The Harvard Business School, chairs the U.S. Board of Governance of The HaShomer HaChadash and is a member of The Whitney Museum of American Art, Painting and Sculpture Committee.  

Prior to taking time off to raise her five children, Harris spent 10 years at Citibank trading syndicated bank loans, originating high yield bonds and lending to investment grade paper and forest product companies.

Marjorie graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science. 

“It is my passion and mission to help provide youth with access to the tools and resources they need to grow and succeed,” Harris said. “I look forward to helping lead the Sixers Youth Foundation’s strategic growth as we work to shape and mold the leaders of tomorrow through the convergence of sports, mentorship and education.”

BLITZER graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 with a degree in American History. She also holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude in 1994. Blitzer was a litigation associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher from 1994-2001, where she practiced general corporate litigation as well as pro bono work representing Women In Need.

Blitzer’s extensive charitable work includes her time as Co-Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Annual Giving Committee in the United Kingdom and Penn’s United Kingdom Leadership Committee. Currently, she is a member of Penn’s Trustee’s Council for Penn Women and served on the Penn Fund Executive Board from 2012-2016. Additionally, she is on the Board of Uncommon Schools, a network of free public charter schools serving more than 6,600 K-12 students across New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. She is also on the Board of Directors of Project Morry, a not-for-profit, year-round youth development organization, as well as the Girl-Code Advisory Board of The Coding Space, providing young girls with a space to learn code, develop critical thinking skills and intellectual confidence.

She and her husband, David, have five children. Together, they founded the Blitzer Family Foundation, which supports positive youth development by creating opportunities centered around education, athletics, health and wellness. The Blitzer Family Foundation’s ongoing mission is to strengthen communities by assisting young people in reaching their full potential.

“I look forward to serving on the Board of Directors of the Sixers Youth Foundation to help the organization in its commitment to the youth development in our communities,” Blitzer said. “By creating opportunities for our youth to grow and learn, I believe we can unlock their full potential and create a lasting positive impact on the future of Philadelphia and Camden.”

One of the most accomplished and respected players to ever don a 76ers uniform, BRAND was named General Manager of the Delaware 87ers on August 28, 2017. A 17-year NBA veteran, Brand spent parts of five seasons with the Sixers and appeared in 263 games (222 starts) with the team from 2008-12 and in 2015-16, reaching the postseason twice. For his career, Brand posted averages of 16 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 74 percent from the free-throw line in 33 minutes per game. He played in 1,058 NBA contests (868) starts with Chicago, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Sixers, Dallas and Atlanta.

A native of Peekskill, New York, the 6-foot-8 forward was originally selected by the Chicago Bulls with the first overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft following two seasons at Duke University. He was named 2000 Co-Rookie of the Year after averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in his debut campaign. In 2005-06, Brand posted a career-high 25 points per game and was selected to one of his two All-Star Games. That season, he helped the Clippers reach the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Brand’s 1,828 career blocks place him 22nd all-time in NBA history.

Brand has used his success to make a substantial impact in the community. In 2009, he launched the Elton Brand Academy in his hometown of Peekskill to provide students with tutoring and mentorship, as well as access to sports and educational programs. He also proudly launched C.A.M.P. Inc., a resource and learning center in Peekskill that strives to increase the opportunities for disadvantaged or underachieving, at-risk students and their families. Additionally, he serves on the regional board of Team IMPACT, a national non-profit that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses to local college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes.

“I know firsthand the power and influence sports can have on youth,” Brand said. “As a young man, I was fortunate to be surrounded by great coaches and mentors who were committed to helping me succeed. Through my work with the Sixers Youth Foundation, I strive to pay that forward.”

WASHINGTON is co-anchor with Jessica Dean of CBS 3’s Eyewitness News at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. and Eyewitness News at 10 p.m. on The CW Philly 57. The West Philadelphia native also hosts CBS 3’s popular Brotherly Love segment profiling people who have had a positive impact in their communities.

He joined the Channel 3 news team as a sports anchor in July 1986. In 1996, he moved over to the news desk as early morning and noon anchor. In July 2015, he was promoted to anchor of the evening editions of Eyewitness News.

Since that time, Ukee has been front and center anchoring some of the region’s most memorable stories including Super Storm Sandy in 2012, the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and Pope Francis’ historic visit to the City in 2015.  In addition, the versatile anchor’s assignments have run the gamut from hosting the 2015 Philadelphia Mayoral Candidates Forum to going behind bars to interview a high school classmate on death row. Ukee has even guest co-hosted on the popular CBS network talk show, THE TALK three times, in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

His decorated career includes numerous local and national awards. Among his honors, he was named to the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2008. In February 2017, Philadelphia’s City Council named Washington a “Living Legend” during its special Black History Month observance.

“The Greater Philadelphia Area means so much to me and it’s an honor to be able to give back to a community that has been so good to me,” Washington, who also serves on board of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, said. “As a child, I loved sports and music, and the lessons I learned through those two avenues helped shape who I’ve become. To be in position to help drive change and progress in our community through my role with the Sixers Youth Foundation is equally humbling and motivating.”

HIRSCH serves as the Vice Chairman & Head of Strategic Initiatives and Board Member of Hamilton Lane (Nasdaq: HLNE). Hirsch also serves as the chairman of the board of Bison, an innovative, private markets-focused software business. Prior to his time with Hamilton Lane, the University of Virginia graduate worked at Brown Brothers Harriman and Public Financial Management. 

Hirsch and his wife, Margaret, are active in Philadelphia-area philanthropy through their Snug Harbor Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of children and animals. 

“It’s an honor to serve on the Board of Directors for the Sixers Youth Foundation,” Hirsch said. “There is nothing as rewarding as helping young people in this area learn, grow and succeed. I am excited by this opportunity and look forward to collaborating with my fellow Board Members to further implement programs and events that provide youth the valuable platform, resources and mentorship they need and deserve.”

There are a limited number of tickets available to tonight’s Sixers Youth Foundation Gala, presented by VIP Wireless. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. ET. 

To purchase tickets or to bid on Gala Auction items, visit www.sixersyouthfoundation.org.

ABOUT THE SIXERS YOUTH FOUNDATION:

The Sixers Youth Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is committed to positively impacting the lives of young people in the Greater Delaware Valley. Its mission is to use the power of sports and entertainment to inspire and educate future generations in the classroom and on the court. For more information go to www.SixersYouthFoundation.org.  

Press Contact:

Dave Sholler

Philadelphia 76ers

609-992-1315

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