May 11, 2017 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) - New York Liberty
NEW YORK, NY - May 11, 2017 - Making a broad impact in the community across New York City and New Jersey, the New York Liberty held its 2017 Season Launch presented by Tackle Kids Cancer at Hackensack University Medical Center, a partner organization of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, on Wednesday afternoon.
Partnering with players in identifying causes and organizations that matched their personal passion points, and where they wanted to make an impact individually, the Liberty set up seven community events for the entire Liberty team and coaching staff to attend, demonstrating what it means to #ShowUp for what matters. On Wednesday night, the Empire State Building was illuminated in Liberty seafoam green, white, and orange, to commemorate the Season Launch events and upcoming home opener.
The 2017 Season Launch was the prelude to the official start of the new WNBA season, which tips off this Saturday, May 13, when the Liberty hosts the San Antonio Stars at Madison Square Garden at 3 p.m.
"The key to our 2017 Season Launch was empowering our players to take control and offer their recommendations for the causes, organizations, and communities where they felt the desire to make an impact," said Swin Cash, New York Liberty Director of Franchise Development. "The Liberty organization continues to lead when it comes to inspiring young people, and our players take to heart the mantra of being the change they want to see in the world; it was inspiring to see each of them put their words into action."
The community initiative included a wide array of activations, including chess lessons, basketball clinics, an empowerment panel, and serving meals to the homeless.
The organizations impacted by the 2017 Season Launch included the Children's Cancer Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center (Rebecca Allen, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe), Crystal's Place with the NYC Department of Homeless Services and the Garden of Dreams Foundation (Sugar Rodgers, Brittany Boyd, Herb Williams), The Ali Forney Center (Shavonte Zellous, Amanda Zahui B, Katie Smith), the Bowery Mission (Tina Charles, Bill Laimbeer), Ingersoll Community Center (Epiphanny Prince, Cierra Burdick, Teresa Weatherspoon), Nassan's Place (Bria Hartley, Lindsay Harding), and Girls for Gender Equity (Kiah Stokes, Kia Vaugh, Kym Hampton).
At Crystal's Place, Rodgers and Boyd taught kids how to play chess, and awarded all the attendees with tickets to the 2017 Liberty home opener on Saturday at The Garden. Charles and Laimbeer partnered with Liberty season ticket holders to serve meals to the homeless at Bowery Mission.
Additionally, Charles donated an AED to the Bowery Mission through her Hopey's Heart Foundation, to which she will donate her entire WNBA salary once again in 2017. Since its creation in 2013, Charles has donated more than 260 AED's worldwide with the aim of keeping communities heart safe.
Zellous, Zahui B, and Smith toured the Ali Forney Center in Harlem before participating in a Career Exploration Panel with the youth in attendance. At Ingersoll Community Center, and Nassan's Place, the Liberty players and coaches held basketball clinics. Ingersoll is the community center Prince played in growing up in Brooklyn, while Nassan's Place helps children and families affected by autism.
Allen and Raincock-Ekunwe visited with patients in the Children's Cancer Ward at HackensackUMC. At Roy H. Mann JHS 78 in Brooklyn, Vaughn, Stokes and Hampton hosted a panel with 100 boys and girls.