By Godson Umejiego, Correspondent USA
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has received the March NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his dedicated efforts to address housing insecurity in Greater Philadelphia, the NBA (www.NBA.com) today announced. Each month the award recognizes a player who best reflects the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
While Embiid has long been focused on addressing disparities in his local community and impacting the lives of youth and families, the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the stark inequities present. This March, after being named a 2021 NBA All-Star starter for the fourth consecutive year, Embiid continued his efforts to combat homelessness in Philadelphia with a US$100,000 contribution to three Philadelphia-based organizations: Youth Services Inc., Project HOME and Sunday Breakfast Mission. The donation provided 15,000 meals to those in need, 4,000 essential clothing items, medical treatment for 1,000 housing insecure individuals, access to a six-week summer camp for 50 young people experiencing homelessness and shelter for more than 300 teens facing housing insecurity. Embiid extended his support of local community members by assisting five families that had been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, providing each with gifts and clothing, groceries and housing rent relief for the next year.
Much of Embiid’s community efforts over the last year have focused on COVID-19 relief. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Embiid joined 76ers Managing Partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer to donate $1.3 million to Penn Medicine to develop antibody testing of frontline healthcare workers. As part of his continued support for healthcare workers, he pledged $500,000 through the #FirstRespondersFirst campaign, an initiative of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Thrive Global and the CAA Foundation, to provide PPE to frontline workers.
“I am humbled to be recognized as the recipient of the NBA Cares Community Assist Award,” said Embiid. “It has always been incredibly important for me to use the platform I have been given to create positive change. Housing insecurity and homelessness affect so many in our communities, and we need to come together, now more than ever, to support one another. I am proud to support organizations like Covenant House Pennsylvania that are working every day to provide essential resources and services.”
Embiid was presented with the award during a special virtual ceremony with league, Kaiser Permanente and 76ers officials on Friday, and will also be recognized during the team’s home game tonight against the Golden State Warriors (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.) In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate US$10,000 on Embiid’s behalf to Covenant House Pennsylvania.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities. It honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. At the end of the 2020-21 regular season, the Season-long NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced.