In the midst of the social justice uprising following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, several athletes launched initiatives at the intersection of sports and activism, including NBA player Jrue Holiday. According to the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks star is furthering his efforts to support small Black-owned businesses and nonprofits throughout the country.
Last year Holiday announced he would donate a portion of his 2019-2020 season salary to grassroots nonprofit organizations centered on social justice, HBCUs and businesses created by Black entrepreneurs. He and his wife Olympic gold medalist Lauren Holiday created the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund; an initiative designed to provide funding and support for foundations and businesses in underserved communities within the Greater Milwaukee area, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Los Angeles. After witnessing the fund’s impact the Holidays announced they’re opening a second round of funding. As part of the next round, they are distributing up to $1 million in grants.
“When we first decided to start this fund, it was at an inflection point of two pandemics,” the Holidays said in a statement. “The disproportionate effects that COVID-19 had on the Black community and businesses, and equally as devasting, the murders of George Floyd and many other unarmed Black people, resulting in an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help people through the JLH Fund and will continue to do this work and make the greatest impact possible.” The couple has teamed up with other social impact organizations and social justice advocates to further their mission including Fund Black Founders which was created by Renee King, Microsoft’s Nonprofit Tech Acceleration (NTA) for Black & African American Communities to bridge the digital divide and Kinship Advisors. Their first round of funding went to an array of businesses and nonprofits including ones that were centered on eradicating food insecurity and increasing the accessibility to STEM education.
Holiday is one of many NBA players leading social justice efforts. Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and retired NBA star Dwyane Wade launched the Social Change Fund to support grassroots organizations focused on uplifting and empowering the Black community.