INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The NBA is putting its name behind a push to improve investment in the young, Black community.
Indy’s Center for Leadership Development is helping guide that work.
The NBA Foundation selected the Center for Leadership Development for its second round of grants. Created last August, the foundation has a mission that includes furthering empowerment and upward mobility in the Black community. It’s something that the Center for Leadership Development has already been doing for nearly 45 years.
The Center for Leadership Development opened in the 1970s with the goal of helping Black youths break cycles of poverty and address challenges in education, safety and a diverse workforce.
“I think the gravity of the need has probably increased, from my observation that young people are challenged more than ever, perhaps abandoned more than ever. They seem to be more wayward, less correction,” said Dennis Blank, director of the Center for Leadership Development.
The Center for Leadership Development is in a central location now, but It’s expanding its work by opening three new satellite learning locations at the Christamore House, Mount Carmel Church and the Path School; all funded through an $11.6 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.
Getting to this point has been a couple years in the making.
Bland said, “It’s going to allow us to reach more young people at a deeper level to try to impact greater transformation.”
The work will stretch even further. Last week, the NBA Foundation in partnership with the Pacers selected the Center for Leadership Development to receive a grant. The foundation formed with a specific focus on empowerment and upward mobility in the Black communities. Roughly 75% of NBA players are Black.
In a statement, Greg Taylor, executive director of the NBA Foundation, said, “We are happy and at the same time we are so profoundly humbled by the charge that has been put with us with the grid. We’re happy but we understand what this means. This is an investment by the NBA Foundation.”
The Center for Leadership Development representatives said the gift will expose students to different career opportunities.