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Milwaukee Bucks star point guard Jrue Holiday made headlines in 2020. And it wasn't for helping to bring an NBA title back to Wisconsin for the first time in decades like he did this year. As a whole, the NBA has really been at the forefront of the movement for social change. And the Bucks garnered national attention when they spearheaded a historic sports boycott last August. After the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin the players refused to come out to play an NBA playoffs game. Now Jrue wasn't a member of the Bucks yet, but he is still showing his commitment to social change.
Alongside his wife, two time Olympic gold medalist Lauren, the two started a new foundation. The Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund (JLH Fund) pledges to help support Black owned local and small businesses, as well as Black led nonprofits. At the time of announcing the fund on Instagram, Jrue was still a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. To kickstart the fund, Jrue pledged the remainder of his 2020 NBA salary. Jrue makes a little over $26 million per season, and that initial donation was about $5.3 million.
Jrue announced the fund and donations with the following post:
“With the COVID-19 Pandemic and heightened racial injustices in 2020, many of us have been looking for answers. Lauren & I found ourselves searching for ways to help our community at a time when they needed it most. Pledging the remainder of our 2020 NBA salary to small Black owned businesses, nonprofits and initiatives is how we felt we could make a lasting impact.”
According to Jrue's post, he found that worldwide searches for ‘support small business’ doubled compared to the previous year. And he was encouraged to know that in a time when we could all use a helping hand that we were still searching for ways to help one another. What I truly find encouraging, is that this wasn't a one time move by the Holiday family.
Earlier this year, the couple announced another $1 million donation to the fund. This second round of funding will provide up to $1 million in grants to Black-led nonprofit organizations and Black-owned businesses. The Holidays noted that they are focusing the grants on key areas to them personally. These will be the Greater Milwaukee area, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Los Angeles area. Milwaukee is of course where the couple currently lives. New Orleans is where Jrue spent 7 years of his NBA career. It is also where he played when he initially started the fund. LA is where Jrue is from, as well as where both he and Lauren went to college at UCLA. Indianapolis is the hometown of Lauren.
“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 JLH Fund is working with Microsoft’s Nonprofit Tech Acceleration for Black & African American Communities to provide technology and support services for those organizations who apply for their funding. Darrell Booker, head of Microsoft NTA, said this funding is critical to advance the fund’s mission. The foundation is also partnered with the Kinship Advisors and Fund BLK Founders.
The fund is going to remain a recurring yearly award. The 2021 class of awardees has already been announced, but they are still accepting donations for future classes. And if you are interested in being awarded funds in the future, please stay tuned into the fund's website for when the application process reopens. Black Business Boost also posted a resource earlier this year on how to find grants for your business.
If you would like to know more information about the 2021 grantees, or how to support their businesses, information can be found here.
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