The New York Liberty has been awarded the inaugural seasonlong WNBA Community Assist Award presented by State Farm for its efforts to make an impact in communities across New York City and New Jersey.
Throughout the season, the Liberty had multiple events to give back to the New York City and New Jersey communities, including its 2017 Season Launch, the Unity Game, the New York City Pride Parade and the Hopey’s Heart Foundation Party, among others.
As part of the launch, the Liberty set up seven community events for players and coaches based off their personal interests, points of passion and where they wanted to make an impact in the community. The entire team and coaching staff attended all seven events, which included chess lessons, basketball clinics, an empowerment panel and serving meals to the homeless.
This season, the entire Liberty team also worked with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to hold the first ever Unity Game at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 20 against the Minnesota Lynx. Activation included a panel/community conversation with WNBA legends, community leaders and youth, both teams linking arms together with members of the NYPD and youth from Covenant House during the national anthem, and activation for fans on the concourse.
For the Pride Parade, the Liberty organization, which included coaches, players, Maddie the mascot and MSG employees, marched alongside season ticket holders and other Liberty fans. The was the first time that a professional sports team participated in the NYC Pride Parade. In addition, there were over 40,000 marchers and an estimated two million spectators.
Tina Charles held her annual Hopey’s Heart Foundation event at Tao in New York City on Aug. 30, with the entire Liberty team and coaching staff in attendance. Hopey’s Heart Foundation is committed to improving the health of student and amateur athletes by providing health education, CPR training and lifesaving automatic external defibrillators (AED) in schools, community and recreational centers.
“This is a tremendous honor for the New York Liberty to receive the very first seasonlong WNBA Community Assist Award,” said team President Isiah Thomas. “Our players and coaches have showed a true commitment to making a difference in the community and creating lasting memories for our loyal fans. I am proud of everything our team accomplished this season.”
The WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm is awarded monthly during the season to the player who best reflects the WNBA’s passion to make a difference in the community. This season marks the first in which a player or team is recognized for seasonlong efforts. In recognition of the New York Liberty’s efforts, the WNBA and State Farm will make a $20,000 donation to be split between The Ali Forney Center, Garden of Dreams Foundation, Hopey’s Heart Foundation, Girls for Gender Equity, Nissan’s Place and Ingersoll Community Center.