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The NBA is advancing its efforts to support grassroots nonprofits at the forefront of social change. The league’s philanthropic arm—the NBA Foundation—has donated a grant to the New York City-based organization Avenues for Justice.

Founded in 1979, the nonprofit has a mission rooted in empowering youth through the creation of initiatives that sit at the intersection of education, mentorship, and workforce development. The programs are designed for teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24 who have been impacted by the flawed criminal justice system.

The grant provided by the NBA will support the organization’s HIRE UP program, a social impact initiative cultivated to provide workforce advancement opportunities for court-involved and at-risk youth. HIRE UP offers courses and certifications centered on digital literacy, construction safety, STEM, communications, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship. Avenues for Justice is one of twelve grant recipients that will share $4.8 million.

Alanna Rutherford, who serves as the nonprofit’s board chair, says the donation will be instrumental in helping AFJ elevate its efforts around recidivism and change lives. “The vision of the NBA Foundation overlaps with the goals of Avenues for Justice and will allow us to expand our programming of skills training, mentorship, and job training for underrepresented youth,” she shared in a statement. “By providing the means to establish a solid economic foundation, the Foundation grant will assist in achieving Avenues for Justice’s mission to divert underrepresented, at-risk New York City youth from lives of crime.”

Greg Taylor, who serves as the Executive Director of the NBA Foundation, added AFJ’s legacy of leading transformational change aligns with the foundation’s commitment to driving impact in underserved communities. “The organization’s dedication to intervention and diversion for youth in systematically disadvantaged communities dates back decades, and we look at the continued growth of its impact on the trajectory of Black youth in the U.S.,” he said.

Other NBA Foundation grant recipients included STEM NOLA, the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, and the nonprofit 10,000 Degrees. The endowments are part of the NBA Foundation’s $300 million commitment to empowering the Black community.


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