Philadelphia 76ers Co-Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer made another notable financial contribution this summer, and it's perhaps their most significant one yet. On Monday, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment announced they are unveiling a company-wide action plan to fight systemic racism. Over the next five years, HBSE is pledging $10 million to drive action and invest in communities in Philly and New Jersey.
In addition to the $10 million pledge mentioned above, HBSE and the 76ers' organization will also make another $10 million contribution to the NBA's brand new foundation to drive economic empowerment in black communities.
"As leaders and stewards of community pillars, the eyes of the world are on us to do better, and they should be," said Sixers Co-Managing Partner, Josh Harris. "While we will never be able to correct the past harm and injustice faced by black Americans, it's our duty to provide resources that enable tangible action and greater opportunities for equality. We are committing to a fundamental change in our business strategy by embedding our organization with black communities and businesses through significant and sustained investment and support. We are deeply committed to fighting for a better, more inclusive future, and we pledge to be leaders in doing so."
With the millions of dollars HBSE is pledging, the company plans to invest in black communities through a Real Estate Community Advancement Program. Through partnerships with developers, local community groups, and officials, the program will advance equitable, community-driven revitalization through significant investments. Of the $10 million HBSE is pledging, $2.5 million will be donated to organizations and efforts that improve resident quality of life in black communities, which include affordable housing, health centers, commercial corridor improvements, and more.
Along with the community advancement program, HBSE will also put together the Buy Black Partnership Program, which creates initiatives to support black-owned businesses with competitive opportunities and marketing resources. $5 million will go into marketing assets to black-owned companies.
In an attempt to promote health, education, and employment, HBSE plans to commit $2.5 million through the Sixers Youth Foundation, and Harris and Blitzer's other pro club, NHL's New Jersey Devils Care Foundation to support positive education, health, and employment outcomes in black communities. The money provided will help offer free internet access to more than 1,000 School District of Philadelphia families, and multiple separate donations will be made to the Newark Boys & Girls Club and the Urban League of Essex County.
Lastly, HBSE plans to hire a Chief Diversity and Impact Officer to lead internal and external diversity programs across the organization. They will also strengthen the company's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board and implement a new resource group, which will create support groups, workshops, and a speaker series to continue offering race-based education within the company.
Moving forward, HBSE plans to put a heavy focus on new recruitment, retention, and career advancement for black and minority employees across the company. They also plan to partner with historically black Colleges and Universities to connect graduating college seniors with career pipelines and exposure at HBSE, helping support black and minority executives entering and ascending in the sports and entertainment industry.
"It is crucial for us to take action in fighting against systemic racism and social injustices," said Sixers Co-Managing Partner, David Blitzer. "Moving forward, we are making a continued commitment to racial equality as a key focus of our business, advancing institutional and situational change where we live, work, and play. We cannot and will not tolerate racism, injustice or hate, and take responsibility to be a part of the solution for the future of our industry, the cities we serve, and our country as a whole."
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_