Open Nav

Ben Simmons and RISE Partner To Empower Brooklyn Youth

Eight-week leadership program launched Sept. 24, aiming to advance social justice and racial equity, and provide youth with mental health resources

September 28, 2022

BROOKLYN, NY - Brooklyn Nets player Ben Simmons has partnered with RISE, the leading national nonprofit dedicated to eliminating racism through sport, to provide underserved youth in Brooklyn with the tools to address issues of racism, prejudice and inclusivity within their communities.

The eight-week leadership program tipped-off on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Nets' HSS Training Center. Teens from Good Shepherd Services are participating in the first iteration of the program, which will meet each Saturday through Nov. 12.

As part of the program, participants will be challenged to work together as teams to develop creative projects that address key issues of inequality and injustice facing their communities. At the culmination of the eight weeks, each group will present their creative projects to Simmons, other athletes and social justice experts to discuss how they can implement their ideas to inspire real change.

“I'm excited to partner with RISE, we have the same belief that sport has the power to unite people from all different backgrounds and drive positive change,” said Simmons. “To be able to connect with youth in Brooklyn and create opportunities for future leaders in the community is important to me.”

Throughout the program, participants will continue to develop their leadership skills on and off the court, while also playing basketball with and learning directly from experienced coaches from the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy. Students will additionally engage in honest conversations through RISE's experiential learning curriculum, focusing on topics such as race, diversity, leadership and community building. The leadership program will also provide the group with mental health resources to help them cope with the many challenges they face and create safe spaces to have difficult but necessary conversations about race and community.

“Addressing racism and creating inclusive and equitable communities demands long-term, intentional action, and requires education, skill development and the ability to engage in difficult conversations with people who have different perspectives and experiences than your own,” said RISE Chief Program Officer Dr. Andrew Mac Intosh. “Sports have the power to unite people of all backgrounds and can be the conduit for creating positive social change. When athletes like Ben Simmons act as true leaders and invest in communities through programs like these, it can have a tremendous impact.”

About Ben Simmons Family Foundation (BSFF)

The Ben Simmons Family Foundation exists to break down the barriers to an equal future. With a focus on Leadership, Advocacy and Education, BSFF collaborates with change makers who have impact. Community lead they create opportunities and pathways that strive towards an equal future by investing in the next generation. The commitments and projects supported anchor around education, sport, wellness, and technology which positively impact and create change. Follow BSFF on Instagram @bensimmonsfamilyfoundation or learn more at www.bensimmons.co/foundation.

About RISE

RISE is a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. Through partnerships and programs, RISE inspires leaders in sports to create positive change on matters of race and equality. RISE's vision is to create a nation unified through sports committed to racial equity and social justice. Follow RISE on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @RISEtoWIN or learn more at https://risetowin.org

About Good Shepherd Services

Good Shepherd Services goes where children, youth, and families face the greatest challenges and provide resources that build on their inherent strengths to help them thrive. We operate over 80 programs - which help nearly 30,000 youth and family members in struggling neighbourhoods throughout New York City - and all programs are united by a common goal: to create opportunities that help our participants succeed at school, at home, and in their community.


Melissa Tribe, Director

Alexys Feaster, Social Impact Advisor & Founder,
The Kinship Advisors


Ian Cutler, RISE

RISE News & Stories



Sign up to get the latest news and information from RISE.