As part of a renewed commitment to social justice, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is donating $350,000 to 19 voter engagement organizations across the country, including to two organizations in Cleveland — Cleveland VOTES and VoterDrive CLE — and one in Akron, FreedomBloc.
The NBPA raised the money by auctioning off game-worn jerseys from the opening weekend of the NBA restart in the Florida "bubble." They created a new Players’ Justice Fund, controlled by NBA players, from which they intend to continue donating to organizations promoting various social justice initiatives.
Cleveland VOTES is a non-partisan democracy-building and voter-mobilization nonprofit in Cleveland. VoterDrive CLE is a recently established nonpartisan effort to provide transportation to the polls for those in need of rides. And FreedomBloc seeks to build Black political power.
"Cleveland VOTES is incredibly grateful to the NBPAF for their commitment and investment in advancing equitable civic engagement,” said Erika Anthony, co-founder of Cleveland Votes, in a press release. “Elevating the importance of the upcoming election in the midst of a global pandemic has proven challenging, but the Cleveland VOTES team has been encouraged, inspired and motivated by organizations such as the NBPAF who stand in solidarity with us."
Ohio was the only state with three groups to receive dollars from the NBPA Players' Justice Fund.