From LeBron James’ Akron-based I Promise School to Russell Westbrook’s education-focused initiatives, NBA players are showing up for their communities in impactful ways and the latest basketball star to join the collective of athletes driving change is Maurice “Moe” Harkless. The Sacramento Kings forward is giving back by providing support for young adults transitioning out of foster care, NBC News reported.
Research shows more than 23,000 youths age out of the foster care system each year. The National Foster Youth Institute reported approximately 25 percent of young adults experience homelessness within four years of exiting foster care, a hardship that the global health crisis has exacerbated. As they try to navigate adulthood, they’re also significantly impacted by other obstacles, including food insecurity and financial burdens.
Aware of the hurdles faced by former foster youth, Harkless was compelled to step up and help those in need. After donating $25,000 in 2020 to the Last Resort Emergency Response Fund—a relief project organized by New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and the nonprofit New Yorkers for Children designed to provide aid for young adults aging out of the system—the Queens native recently contributed an additional $25,000 to push the initiative forward.
“I came across the Last Resort Fund, and it really hit me—one, the fund being based in New York, the city that I’m from and two, focusing on the youth,” he shared in a statement, according to the news outlet. “It really means the world to me to be able to have an impact on the city that raised me.”
Harkless’ generous gift will be added to a $1.5 million fund. His donations have helped combat food and housing insecurity and alleviate financial adversities for nearly 100 families and individuals. Organizers of the initiative are working on a project dubbed the First Resort Fund to help send young adults leaving the foster care system to college.
Off the court, Harkless has made it his mission to uplift and empower underserved and underrepresented communities. In 2020, he created a website to amplify Black-owned businesses.