NBA star Trae Young’s impact in Atlanta spans far beyond the basketball court. According to CNN, the Atlanta Hawks point guard assisted in eliminating $1 million in medical debt for underprivileged families.
The initiative was a collaborative effort between the 21-year-old’s nonprofit dubbed The Trae Young Foundation and an organization called RIP Medical Debt which works to alleviate financial burdens for individuals who are living below the federal poverty level. Young made a $10,000 donation which equated to the cancellation of $1,059,186.39 in medical debt for Atlanta residents struggling to make ends meet. His donation will benefit at least 570 families.
Young says paying it forward in a city that has embraced him is something that is important to him. “The city of Atlanta has welcomed me with open arms,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “Giving back to this community is extremely important to me. I hope these families can find a bit of relief knowing that their bills have been taken care of as we enter the New Year.”
This isn’t the first philanthropic project that Young has worked on since he entered the NBA. He has hosted back-to-school giveaways and teamed up with Uninterrupted and Walmart to provide a student in need from his hometown with a shopping spree. His foundation primarily focuses on spreading awareness about mental health and tackling cyberbullying.
Several NBA players are becoming change agents in their cities. In 2019, Philadelphia 76ers player Tobias Harris donated $1 million to charities and organizations focused on education. According to ESPN, $600,000 was allocated to Philadelphia-based charities. One of the nonprofits—The Center for Black Educator Development—is using the grant given by Harris to increase the representation of Black teachers in classrooms.
“The numbers don’t lie that show that a young Black male that has an African American teacher is 40 percent less likely to drop out come high school,” said Harris. “I truly believe if you invest in the education, in the schools, you invest in the community, we’ll see more young leaders come up.”