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Under Armour commits new national grant to expand Building Bridges Through Basketball program with RISE, uniting youth and law enforcement in 10 additional cities nationwide through 2024.

Program also expands to Bay Area, continues in Charlotte and Chicago.

March 29, 2022

NEW YORK - RISE, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Under Armour are expanding the award-winning Building Bridges Through Basketball program to foster a national dialogue and provide education to actively address issues of race and bias, and improve relations between members of law enforcement and the diverse communities they serve.

Through a grant from Under Armour, RISE will lead the execution of Building Bridges Through Basketball programs in 10 new cities, partnering with local youth-serving organizations and law enforcement to hold two seasons of the 10-week program each year through 2024. New programs are scheduled to launch in Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. later this year with the following youth-serving organizations:

Atlanta Police Athletic League, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, YMCA of Greater Cleveland, Indianapolis Police Athletic League Inc., Project Blue (Los Angeles), Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center (Minneapolis), National Sports Zone Foundation (New York), Philadelphia Youth Basketball, United African Basketball League (Washington D.C.

In addition to the new grant programs, RISE, the NBA and Under Armour tipped off the first season of Building Bridges Through Basketball in the Bay Area with the Golden State Warriors, McClymonds High School, SPAAT and Oakland Police Department on March 15. The third year of the program in Charlotte with the Naomi Drenan Recreation Center and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department began March 19, and a fifth year of the program in Chicago with the Union League Boys & Girls Clubs and Chicago Police Department starts this fall.

Building Bridges Through Basketball, which first began as a pilot program at NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans through a collaboration between the NBA and RISE, unites middle and high school youth with local officers to develop skills on and off the court. The program creates space for them to engage in honest conversations that help break barriers, build trust and create pathways for positive communication. Through RISE's experiential learning curriculum, participants cover topics such as identity, bias, privilege, racism and leadership. Officers and youth have the chance to hear new perspectives, develop relationships, discuss the challenges they face and their collective responsibility to create change and build stronger communities. Under Armour began its support of Building Bridges Through Basketball in 2018 through programs in Chicago and Los Angeles.

“Racism exists and impacts every part of our society, but throughout history sports and especially the game of basketball have been a powerful vehicle for inspiring change on issues of race and injustice," said RISE CEO Diahann Billings-Burford. "The fastest and most impactful change can often come at the interpersonal level, and with this national expansion, Building Bridges Through Basketball will be able to bring together more diverse communities and the law enforcement serving them. Equipping youth and officers with the tools to have these difficult conversations together can not only create shifts in knowledge and attitudes, but also change behaviors that lead to systemic change.”

“The NBA community is excited to bring Building Bridges Through Basketball to the Bay Area and beyond, continuing our work with RISE and Under Armour to serve the cities where we work and play,” said NBA Head of Social Responsibility Todd Jacobson. “This program provides an important forum to help increase trust between law enforcement and young people which is an essential piece to building safer, healthier, and stronger communities.”

“At Under Armour, we are committed to increasing access to sport through programs like Building Bridges Through Basketball because we know sport is so much more than a game,” said Under Armour Director of Global Philanthropy Flynn Burch. “It teaches us to be teammates and leaders, to bounce back and never back down, and push beyond our limits. We believe that by connecting youth and members of law enforcement, we will help foster important conversations and drive much-needed change.”

Previous Building Bridges Through Basketball programs have been held in: Chicago (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021) with the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs and Chicago Police Department; Charlotte (2019, 2021) with the Naomi Drenan Recreation Center and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; Los Angeles (2018) with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Department; and in Detroit (2017, 2018) with organizations including S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center, Detroit Police Athletic League, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Chosen Generation Community Center and the Detroit Police Department.

Building Bridges Through Basketball won the Corporate Community Impact Award at the 2019 ESPN Sports Humanitarian Awards.

“The Building Bridges Through Basketball program has profoundly impacted the urban youth we serve,” said Hector Perez, Senior Vice President at the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs in Chicago. “Since 2017, youth have participated in leadership and basketball activities with coaches, Chicago police officers and other caring adults. The lasting impact of those positive interactions has given our at-risk youth tools to develop leadership, social-emotional and life skills, and has helped provide officers with an important perspective to better understand the young people in our community.”

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