Through their work to improve communities across the country, four NBA players and their family foundations are coming together as committed participants in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) national effort.
The Chris Paul Family Foundation, The Carmelo Anthony Foundation, Wade’s World Foundation, and LeBron James Family Foundation will continue to use their voices, influence and work to bridge divides in communities and ultimately create better opportunities for children and families. Their efforts are supported by a $1 million grant from the Kellogg Foundation.
TRHT is a comprehensive, national and community-based process focused on transformational and sustainable change that addresses the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Its primary focus is jettisoning the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs that undergird racism – the main one being the belief in a hierarchy of human value. This belief, which has fueled racism and conscious and unconscious bias throughout American culture, is the perception of a person’s or group’s inferiority or superiority based on physical characteristics, race, ethnicity or place of origin.
The WKKF grant supports the players’ continued efforts to implement and expand the work they do in communities across the country by implementing the TRHT framework within their programs for children and youth, thus making a difference in the lives of children for years to come.
“These athletes’ voices and community-based work speaks truth to the inequities facing children and families. Their efforts and involvement can contribute to healing and transformation in communities,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We are eager to see the positive change that emerges from our shared commitment to the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort.”
The Chris Paul Family Foundation convened this group initially based on their mutual passions and because of the alignment of their work to the TRHT goals and framework. In the past, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have used their voices to promote positive social change. They teamed up to deliver a powerful speech during the 2016 ESPY Awards, in which they called for fellow athletes to use their platform to help heal a country divided by racism, injustice and gun violence. Within that speech, LeBron James said, “We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do. But that’s not acceptable. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change.”
The Chris Paul Family Foundation will use WKKF’s grant investment to continue its work to expose youth to technology advancements in underserved communities while focusing their efforts within the key TRHT priority areas of employment, education, workforce development and safety.
“I feel compelled to help bridge the gap that has been the center of division. We must incite positive change in our communities by embracing each other and creating opportunities for children and I look forward to the conversation happening on the National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 16 when these issues are on the forefront of a national conversation,” said Chris Paul.
For Dwyane Wade, this work truly hits home. “My family and I have been personally affected by gun violence. I am committed to continuing my efforts in the Chicago community by providing kids with exposure, access and hope for a better future with supporting programs.”
Wade feels that it is time to change that narrative – not through fear – but by shining a positive light on youth in Chicago, empowering them to achieve their dreams. His foundation’s signature program, Spotlight On, provides kids with hope for a better future and gives young thriving leaders the resources to engage in meaningful and impactful work in their communities while supporting the TRHT framework on narrative change.
“Last year, I brought attention to the injustice, distrust and anger of people of color that plague this country day in and day out. Facing a broken system, systematic violence and racial inequalities, there is an urgency to create change,” said Carmelo Anthony. “My participation in TRHT and support of community outreach programs for underserved children and families is one of the ways I will work to empower our communities to be hopeful in the future we are creating together. The Kellogg Foundation grant provides additional resources needed to increase our capacity and expand our pivotal work in education within all five boroughs in New York City.”
The LeBron James Family Foundation’s (LJFF) efforts to assist and support at-risk students in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio, have continued to evolve and expand since his “I Promise” program began to tackle the high school dropout crisis in 2011. The program has now grown to provide resources, mentorship, interventions and guaranteed college scholarships for more than 1,200 inner-city students who need it most, all with a mission to keep kids in school and on the right path to achieve their dreams through education.
The TRHT grant will assist LJFF in creating a brand new public school in Akron that will provide complete wraparound supports for its students and their families. The school will help hundreds of children mitigate the challenges they are faced with in the classroom and at home and create a safe, supportive learning environment conducive to life-long learning and future success.
“Real change starts at home in our communities. If we all do our part to strengthen and build up our communities, we can really start to make a difference,” said LeBron James. “Through my foundation, we’ve been able to get to kids at an early age and get them the support they need before they go down the wrong path. I’m humbled to be in a position to help provide a life-changing education not only for these students but for their families as well. This grant will help us continue to make a difference and ultimately create a better future for our community and beyond.”
Learn more about TRHT here.