Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and Ujamaa Place Selected as NBA Foundation Local Grant Recipients

Fourth round of funding keeps focus on employment and career advancement opportunities for Black youth
by Timberwolves PR

Minneapolis/St. Paul – Today, the NBA Foundation awarded local organizations Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and Ujamaa Place with grants to support their ongoing work to increase economic opportunities for young Black women and men.

The grants are part of the NBA Foundation’s fourth grant round totaling more than $11 million to 38 organizations across the U.S. To-date, the NBA Foundation has awarded 78 grants, totaling $22 million to non-profit organizations inclusive of those announced today, throughout the 30 NBA team markets.

“Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and Ujamaa Place are leaders in our community, building crucial pathways to empower Black youth,” said Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx Executive Vice President of Social Responsibility Jennifer Ridgeway. “The continued commitment from the NBA Foundation and collectively, the league, offers critical investments in the capacity and programming of these premier community organizations.”

The Phyllis Wheatley Community Center is culturally responsive and provides quality programs in life-long learning for children, youth, adults, as well as family services for the diverse greater Minneapolis community. Originally established in 1924 as a settlement house, it was the center of the north Minneapolis African American community prior to World War II.

“The Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, with support from the NBA Foundation will provide digital literacy, tech skills, workforce and certification training, inclusive of job placement support to underserved Black participants, ages 14-24 in the DigitalTechWorks™ Academy program. We are also honored to partner with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx professional sport teams in our community with our Esports Club and Teams,” said Suzanne E. Burks, Executive Director.

Ujamaa Place serves primarily African American men aged 18-30 from the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area, who enroll at no cost in Ujamaa Place’s Theory of Transformation™, providing them with over 37 transformation support services to build positive lives for themselves and to move into contributing roles in society.

“As CEO and President of Ujamaa Place and on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and Ujamaa team members and the young African American men we serve, we are deeply appreciative of the NBA Foundation grant awarded to us,” said Otis Zanders. “Racial injustice and social inequities have surrounded the men walking through our doors. Some have made bad choices and now together with the help of this award we will be able to serve additional young men helping them change their lives. We deeply appreciate the support of our own Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx as together we will address systemic injustices that has surrounded our men all their lives.”

Grants to the local organizations will support skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development in NBA markets and communities across the United States and Canada.

The NBA Foundation is dedicated to creating greater economic opportunity and career advancement in the Black community. Through grant funding, the Foundation seeks to increase access and support for high school, college-aged and career-ready Black youth, and assist national and local organizations that provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development in NBA markets and communities across the U.S. and Canada. Over the next 10 years, the 30 NBA team governors will collectively contribute $30 million annually in funding and will work strategically to develop additional funding sources.

For a full list of fourth round NBA Foundation grant recipients click here.

To learn more about the NBA Foundation or apply for a grant, please visit

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