NBA Foundation extends partnership with Children’s Defense Fund with $3.6M in funding

NBA Foundation extends partnership with Children’s Defense Fund with .6M in funding

NEW YORK — The NBA Foundation announced its largest grant to date to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), totaling $3.6 million over three years. Through this partnership, CDF will help identify applicants and support program management for the NBA HBCU Scholarship Program. Launched in 2022 by the Foundation, the scholarship provides career development opportunities in basketball for undergraduate and graduate students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

As part of this partnership, CDF will expand learning and career development opportunities for program participants to include a solid orientation, a closing retreat at CDF’s historic Alex Haley Farm as well as education at social justice in collaboration with Fearless Dialogues, a grassroots organization committed to creating unique spaces for unlikely partners to engage in heartfelt conversations. The programmatic elements will serve to strengthen the professional skills of the students and to address the dynamics and challenges of the transition to the labor market.

CDF envisions a nation where marginalized children thrive, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The organization first received an NBA Foundation grant in December 2021 to support the Black Student Leadership Network, the CDF’s one-year scholarship program focused on civic education, civic engagement and development servant leadership for black students on college campuses. The network helps foster the professional development of black youth through leadership training, mentorship with prominent black leaders, economic and career advancement, and networking opportunities. The program also serves to help the next generation of leaders identify community organizing and social change as a viable career path with growth potential.

“We are excited about the expansion of our partnership with the Children’s Defense Fund to strengthen the NBA HBCU scholarship program,” said Greg Taylor, executive director of the NBA Foundation. “CDF’s social justice heritage and unique approach to professional development for youth of color has elevated them to perfect collaborators and will help our program enter a new model centered on youth well-being.”

“Through leadership development and collaboration, the Children’s Defense Fund helps young people activate their power and agency,” said CDF President and CEO Reverend Dr. Starsky Wilson. “As an HBCU alumnus and cheerleader, I envy the hundreds of NBA HBCU Scholars who will benefit from this innovative effort that the NBA Foundation, Fearless Dialogues, and our dynamic team of staff are crafting together. We look forward to supporting them and following their lead.

The NBA HBCU scholarship program spans a ten-week period from June to August where students receive hands-on internship experience in disciplines such as marketing, human resources, community relations, basketball operations , corporate partnerships and more to office and NBA league teams. The inaugural cohort included 60 students representing 24 HBCUs. In keeping with the Foundation’s mission to create economic opportunity among black youth, the scholarship serves as an extension of the NBA’s commitment to advancing educational and career opportunities in conjunction with HBCUs for students and old. Interested students can apply for the NBA HBCU Scholarship Program 2023 here until February 20.

This month, the NBA Foundation will award a total of $12 million in grants to 31 nonprofit organizations serving the black community. Of the 31, 12 organizations are receiving grant renewals while 19 are receiving new grants to support programming and capacity building. To learn more about the organizations funded through the Foundation’s eighth grant cycle during Black History Month, click here.

For more information about the NBA Foundation and to apply for a grant, click here.

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