76ers Owners Commit $20M to Support Black-Owned Businesses, Anti-Racism Initiatives

By Kennedy Rose
Digital Producer, Philadelphia Business Journal
August 17, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment has committed $20 million across several initiatives to fight systemic racism.

HBSE pledged $10 million over the next five years to go to a variety of programs, such as donations to community organizations and businesses, aimed at supporting Black-owned businesses and Black communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

The sports and entertainment company also pledged $10 million to the new NBA Foundation, which was created to drive economic empowerment in Black communities, and committed itself to hiring a chief diversity and impact officer and establishing a diversity and inclusion advisory board.

“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,” HBSE Founder Josh Harris said in a statement. “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.”

HBSE launched two new programs — the Buy Black Partnership Program and the Diversity Procurement Program — to support regional Black-owned businesses starting with the 2020-21 season. The company said it will contribute more than $5 million in marketing assets through the Sixers and the Devils to Black-owned businesses through the Buy Black Program. The initiative will use marketing assets typically reserved only for Fortune 500 companies due to the value and set thresholds, a spokesperson said. HBSE will use the time before the season to do outreach and select businesses to participate in the program.

HBSE will also work with organizations like the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to increase its spending with Black-owned companies through its new Diversity Procurement Program.

The company is also expanding its efforts through the Community Advancement Program of its real estate arm, which will donate a minimum of $2.5 million to organizations that improve the quality of life in Black communities. The program is designed to provide employment programs, home-buying assistance, public space improvements and youth programming in Black communities. HBSE Real Estate will also make “consistent capital commitments” to support real estate investments into projects like affordable housing, health centers, commercial corridor improvements and more.

HBSE also committed to donating another $2.5 million to its existing foundations: the Sixers Youth Foundation and the Devils Care Foundation.

“It is crucial for us to take action in fighting against systemic racism and social injustices, which have persisted for far too long,” said HBSE Co-Founder David Blitzer in a statement. “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.”

Originally Published on Philadelphia Business Journal.