Steve Nash Honored For Off-the-Court Efforts

Posted: Nov. 20, 2008

In celebration of the many ways that sports improve people’s lives and strengthen communities, The Sports Philanthropy Project (SPP) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today presented the 2008 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy to the foundation launched by two-time NBA MVP and Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash. The award was given during a pre-game ceremony, prior to the Suns’ game versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

“The Steve Nash Foundation is a shining example of the incredible impact that can be achieved when you combine the power of sports and social action to help enhance the health and well-being of communities,” said Greg Johnson, SPP executive director. “Sports leaders like Steve Nash have a unique opportunity to leverage the popularity of their well-known brands to create positive and meaningful change in people’s lives.”

Nash launched the foundation that bears his name in 2001. This private athlete foundation serves the needs of underserved children in Arizona, British Columbia and Paraguay. In a short time, its work has been expansive, from equipping a neonatal intensive care ward in Paraguay that provides basic necessities to infants and their families, to working to ensure excellence in early childhood education in Arizona.
The Foundation is also working closely with the City of Toronto, Ontario to establish a citywide, all-kids after-school center to build hope through hoops.

For his charitable work through the Foundation, Nash was named to the Time 100 – The People Who Shape Our World list in 2006.

“It is an honor to receive this type of recognition for the work that I care about so deeply,” said Nash. “The Steve Nash Foundation is dedicated to assisting underserved children in their health, personal development, education and enjoyment of life. Steve Patterson is the kind of person that always sought out to improve the lives and well being of others and to be awarded in his name is truly an honor. I am humbled by your acknowledgement of our work in the global community. This is just the beginning and we look forward to continuing these efforts and building on the foundation we have established.”

For more information on The Steve Nash Foundation, visit www.stevenash.org.

“We’re pleased and honored to present the Patterson Award to the Steve Nash Foundation for its visionary sports philanthropy,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The Steve Nash Foundation has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to improving the health and well-being of children and families, underscoring the powerful impact that sports can have in driving social change in communities across the nation, and throughout the world.”

About the Award

The Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, given annually to a professional sports organization and/or individual athlete philanthropy that demonstrate excellence and leadership in philanthropy, was established in 2005 by the Sports Philanthropy Project and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the largest foundation devoted to health and health care in the United States.

The award was created in memory of Steve Patterson, former UCLA basketball star, NBA player and Arizona State University college coach, and one who believed in and practiced the power of sports philanthropy to make a difference in the lives of others. Patterson died of cancer in July 2004 at the age of 56.

In addition to the Steve Nash Foundation’s award to an individual athlete foundation, the San Francisco Giants Community Fund received the 2008 award for exemplary sports philanthropy by an organization. “We’re all so proud of the good work and immeasurable dedication of The Steve Nash Foundation and Giants Community Fund, and we’re pleased to recognize their work,” said Carlette Patterson, President of Patterson Sports Ventures. “My husband spent his life building partnerships on and off the court, and we hope his life and legacy will inspire more and more sports teams and athletes who have the power to create substantial change in their own backyards. The fact that Steve Nash will receive his award for work here in the same community in which my husband Steve and our family lived and worked and cherished makes it that much more meaningful.”

The award includes a $5,000 honorarium to advance the work of each winning organization. Past award recipients have included the Philadelphia Eagles Youth Partnership (2005), Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation (2006), Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation (2007) and The Moyer Foundation (2007). More information is available online at www.sportsphilanthropy.com/patterson.