The NBA and NBPA announced $300 million in funding Wednesday for a foundation meant to create economic empowerment for the black community. The league will contribute $30 million per year annually for the next decade to the fund, divided evenly by team. The league explained how those funds would be allocated in its shared statement with the NBPA.
"The Foundation will focus on three critical employment transition points: obtaining a first job, securing employment following high school or college, and career advancement once employed. Through contributions, the NBA Foundation will enhance and grow the work of national and local organizations dedicated to education and employment, including through investment in youth employment and internship programs, STEM fields, job shadows and apprenticeships, development pathways outside of traditional higher education, career placement, professional mentorship, networking and specific partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
"On behalf of the NBA Board of Governors, I am thrilled to announce the creation of the NBA Foundation," said NBA Board of Governors Chairman and Toronto Raptors Governor Larry Tanenbaum. "All NBA team governors recognize our unique position to effect change and we are committed to supporting and empowering young Black men and women in each of our team markets as well as communities across the U.S. and Canada."
"The creation of this foundation is an important step in developing more opportunities for the Black community," said NBPA President Chris Paul. "I am proud of our league and our players for their commitment to this long-term fight for equality and justice, and I know we will continue to find ways to keep pushing for meaningful institutional change."
The Foundation will work directly with all 30 teams, their affiliated charitable organizations and the NBPA to support national organizations and their local affiliates as well as local grassroots organizations to facilitate sustainable programming and create change in team markets.
"Given the resources and incredible platform of the NBA, we have the power to ideate, implement and support substantive policies that reflect the core principles of equality and justice we embrace," said NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts. "This Foundation will provide a framework for us to stay committed and accountable to these principles."
"We are dedicated to using the collective resources of the 30 teams, the players and the league to drive meaningful economic opportunities for Black Americans," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "We believe that through focused programs in our team markets and nationally, together with clear and specific performance measures, we can advance our shared goals of creating substantial economic mobility within the Black community."
A number of players, including Kyrie Irving, Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley, expressed unease with the idea of restarting the NBA season during this moment of racial reckoning in the United States. Those players formed a coalition hoping to push for more diversity in NBA leadership and increased commitment from the league on social justice matters.
This foundation is a strong first step on that front. While the league still needs to address racial imbalance among coaches, top team executives and league leadership, this sort of financial commitment to racial justice is meaningful from a group of owners that skews overwhelmingly white.