The Boston Celtics and the NBA team's community outreach foundation have announced a $25 million, decade-long initiative to fight problems the Black community is facing because of systemic racism.
The move, announced Tuesday by the Celtics and the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, is being called the Boston Celtics United for Social Justice. It will focus on six areas, including education, health care and community development.
“Our goal is to have a direct impact now,” Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said in a statement. “We don’t need to pacify the situation with empty gestures. We need to hold ourselves, the Celtics organization, and the city of Boston accountable. Monetary commitment is a great first step, but we need to commit to this process by creating a balance of short and long-term change. The time is now.”
Brown and other members of the Celtics team have been very vocal about social justice initiatives in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black people this year. After Jacob Blake was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last month, the Celtics didn't play their subsequent playoff game against the Toronto Raptors.
Players were involved in starting the Boston Celtics United for Social Justice, along with coaches, owners and team staff, according to Tuesday's announcement, which listed these initiatives as the start of its efforts to address racism and social inequality:
Equity in Education
• Creating an early education center for low income families
• Launching a Black History curriculum for students
• Assisting high school students with college readiness
Economic Opportunity and Empowerment
• Providing pro-bono services to minority owned businesses
• Launching Chuck Cooper Fellowship
Equity in Healthcare
• Promoting early detection for health conditions that disproportionally impact communities of color
• Developing a mobile health screening initiative
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement
• Assisting juvenile offenders in workforce development and academic completion opportunities
• Supporting the societal re-entry for formerly incarcerated parents
Breaking Down Barriers & Building Bridges Across Communities
• Expanding The Playbook Initiative, the team’s bias prevention curriculum
• Implementing discrimination and bias dialogue into the Jr. Celtics’ Youth Basketball curriculum
Voting & Civic Engagement
• Promoting voter registration and the importance of voting for national and local elections
“The Boston Celtics have a proud legacy of being on the right side of racial and social justice, and we are more resolved than ever to take that commitment to another level. Our goal is to do everything we can to achieve progress on each of the targeted pillars, and we will work tirelessly to make real change,” said Steve Pagliuca, the Celtics' managing partner and alternate governor who also serves as chairman of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, in the statement.
All but $5 million of the $25 million committed to the effort will be cash investments. The rest will come in the form of "media assets and in-kind value to support both the NBA’s efforts, as well as local programs," the team said.
The announcement comes in the middle of the Celtics' 2020 playoff run, with the team leading its conference semifinal matchup with the Toronto Raptors 3-2.