In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Utah Jazz guard and former Memphis Grizzlies favorite Mike Conley has donated $200,000 to benefit the communities that helped shape him and the state he currently represents on the NBA hardwood.
Conley’s comprehensive contribution to five communities will address food insecurity, homelessness and remote learning needs exacerbated by COVID-19. His $200,000 donation will be distributed among CodeCrew in Memphis; Utah Food Bank in Salt Lake City; Community Shelter Board and the Columbus Urban League in Columbus, Ohio; the Indianapolis Public Schools Foundation in Indianapolis; and the New Haven Missionary Baptist Church in West Helena, Ark.
“Giving back and helping others is very important to me. The COVID-19 crisis has allowed me to slow down and appreciate who I am and where I am in life,” said Conley. “It has reminded me that I am in this position because of the support and sacrifices of others I’ve encountered all along the way. I wanted to be there for the communities that have been fundamental to my personal growth and are now suffering due to the effects of this pandemic. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
A portion of the three-time NBA Sportsmanship Award winner’s donation will help the Utah Food Bank continue to send increased amounts of product to its 182 partner agencies across the state. In addition, it will help offset the increased transportation costs of Utah Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry program, which is continually expanding to meet the sharp increase in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conley’s contribution will provide the equivalent of more than 194,000 meals for Utahns facing hunger.
Conley’s donation will also benefit CodeCrew in Memphis, where he spent the first 12 years of his NBA career. CodeCrew, in partnership with STREETS Ministries, will use the funds to acquire low-cost broadband internet services and laptops for students in Memphis to assist with distance learning. The nonprofit organization educates, mentors and trains underrepresented groups in tech to become innovators and producers.
“For many nonprofits, COVID-19 has caused drastic changes in how services and programs are delivered. For CodeCrew and STREETS Ministries, we immediately recognized the digital divide that exists for our students and their families. Students in Memphis were not equipped with the necessary tools for distance learning. We are beyond grateful for the generous support of Mike Conley during this global pandemic,” said Meka Egwuekwe, Executive Director, CodeCrew.
In addition, the Jazz guard’s gift will also support the Community Shelter Board in Columbus, Ohio, the city where he attended college at Ohio State University and makes his offseason home. Conley’s investment will help slow the spread of the coronavirus by providing masks for every staff member and client in the homeless system. His contribution will also provide critically important personal protective equipment for staff working in isolation and quarantine shelters for those experiencing homelessness and infected with COVID-19.
A portion of Conley’s $200,000 contribution will also assist the Columbus Urban League in Ohio in its mission to create hope and opportunity for the nearly 40,000 African American and disadvantaged urban families it touches every year. In partnership with the Community of Caring Development Foundation, an arm of New Salem Baptist Church, the donation will help the Columbus Urban League meet the basic food needs of the nearly 350 families whose children have been a part of its outreach programs this past year.
Conley’s gift will also benefit the Indianapolis Public Schools Foundation in Indiana, where the Jazz guard attended high school. His investment in the foundation’s Education Equity Fund will support the largest school district in the state of Indiana. Funds will be utilized to provide internet connectivity for students, district-wide professional development for teachers and preparation for re-entry into the classroom after months of isolation.
Finally, Conley’s donation will support the New Haven Missionary Baptist Church in West Helena, Arkansas, the state where he was born and raised. Conley’s contribution will provide personal protective equipment for members of the community based in the Arkansas Delta.
Conley’s donation is aligned with the “Acts of Caring” platform of NBA Together, the global community and social engagement campaign launched by the NBA family in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Acts of Caring” aims to harness the reach of the NBA and its partners to galvanize support for those most impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Conley won the NBA HORSE Challenge last month, which included a donation from State Farm of more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts. In partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, the Jazz guard also read Fox in Socks online to benefit the Save With Stories campaign in response to the needs of children during school closures.
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