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Amid the uprising for social justice in 2020 following the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, several athletes stepped up to create initiatives centered on empowering the Black community. Among them were 2021 NBA Champion Jrue Holiday and his wife, former professional soccer player Lauren Holiday, advancing their efforts to support Black-owned businesses and nonprofits financially.

Two years ago, the couple launched the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund to provide relief for Black-founded businesses and Black-led organizations—in New Orleans, the Greater Milwaukee area, Los Angeles and Indianapolis—that were significantly impacted by the global health crisis. During the 2019-2020 season, Holiday donated a part of his salary to the fund. The purpose behind the initiative was to eliminate socioeconomic inequities, address systemic racism and cultivate pathways for economic mobility.

Amongst the fund’s past grantees are the Milwaukee-based nonprofit Urban Underground which works to empower youth to step into civic engagement, The 18th Ward, which provides low-cost sports programs for New Orleans youth and Black-owned businesses like Prosperity Market, Viola’s Heritage Breads, Bea’s Bayou Skincare and Embody Yoga. The Holidays announced they are opening up another round of funding and donating up to $1 million in grants this year.

“In an effort to assist marginalized and underrepresented communities with the funding, mentorship and resources needed to survive; we saw then and continue to witness the immediate ways small businesses owners and community change agents need to be supported,” the couple shared in a statement. “Our commitment to doing our part only grows stronger after seeing the life-changing impact the JLH Fund has on people’s lives.”

News about the JLH Fund’s grant program extension comes as Black entrepreneurs still face disparities.


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