NBA issues second $3 million in grant program for Black communities to create jobs and career advancement

The National Basketball Association announced another set of grants to social organizations on Monday as it continues to help drive economic opportunities in the Black community.

As part of its $300 million commitment to assist underserved areas, the league selected nine organizations, including New York-based New Heights Youth, City Year, Road to Hire, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami and Memphis-based CodeCrew.

More than $3 million will be distributed in this round of grants. The NBA said the money would support firms in creating employment and assist in career advancements among Black people.

“The grants will enhance and build upon the important work of these national and local organizations that align with the NBA Foundation’s mission to provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development for high school, college-aged, job-ready and mid-career individuals in Black communities across the United States and Canada,” the league’s release said.

Last year, the NBA and its players’ union collaborated to create the NBA Foundation, which promises to help Black people over the next 10 years. All 30 NBA clubs will unite to commit $30 million annually over the next decade, as the league wants to improve economic and income inequality.

“The NBA Foundation’s mission to drive economic empowerment for Black communities through employment and career advancement is essential to the mobility and prosperity of future generations,” Greg Taylor, NBA Foundation executive director told CNBC via email. “We’re excited to continue our work and honor our second round of grant recipients that are making firsthand impact in their communities and on individual lives.”

Pro sports leagues upped their interest in helping Black communities in 2020 after high-profile killings involving police made the headlines, including George Floyd’s death. Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin is currently standing trial for his role in Floyd’s killing last May.

The NBA made its first installment of grants last December to assist in education and employment opportunities. Organizations including the Marcus Graham Project, Operation DREAM, and Management Leadership for Tomorrow were selected to receive the funds.

Phoenix Suns co-owner Jahm Najafi also added a $10 million donation to the foundation last month. The money is in addition to the $10 million the Suns already pledged. Najafi is the CEO of Arizona-based venture capital firm Najafi Companies.

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