NBA Foundation awards grant to Baton Rouge non-profit to benefit minority students
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The NBA Foundation awarded the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition (BRYC), a college preparatory nonprofit, a grant for its cornerstone program addressing local and nationwide disparities impacting underserved teenagers in the college application, financial aid, and transition processes.
“BRYC is committed to the lifelong work of building support structures our students can lean on as they move to and through college and into their careers, and it is incredibly affirming to have a world-class organization like the NBA Foundation recognize that commitment through this transformative grant,” said BRYC Executive Director Lucas Spielfogel. “I would say it’s a dream-come-true if it weren’t far more: a chance to dream bigger about what’s possible when people who will accept nothing less than equity team up.”
Two organizations in the New Orleans Pelicans’ market were selected during the Foundation’s latest award cycle; BRYC is the only one serving in Louisiana’s Capital Region.
“For more than a decade, the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition has helped young people realize and achieve their college and career goals through tutoring, counseling, internship placements, and exposure to higher education,” said NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor. “We are proud to partner with and support the organization’s college access programs that help further our similar visions to increase economic opportunity in the Black community.”
BRYC’s current cohort consists of 300 eighth-through-twelfth-grade students from 14 school districts, most of whom identify as Black, economically disadvantaged, and first-generation college prospects. In weekly outside-of-school programs, BRYC delivers researched best practices for succeeding in high school and entering college affordably, alongside financial aid counseling, mental health services, tutoring, and scholarships, all designed to fill the practical and social gaps low-socioeconomic students face. BRYC also continues to support its 577 college students and alums.
To date, 140 alumni have earned college degrees, including 15 advanced degrees. Over 300 are currently enrolled in college and persist towards a graduation rate of 80 percent – five-and-a-half times the national average for lower-income students.
“As people of color we’re constantly told that we can’t make it, or the data tells us that we’re not going to make it,” said BRYC Chief of Staff Josh Howard. “All we want is an equitable shot, and the NBA is giving us just that extra step that way we can get there.”
The NBA Foundation grant will support BRYC’s Seniors in their end-of-year college registration fees and activities, including College Signing Day. Associate Director of Communications and Development Elin Hawkinson shared, “The Class of 2023 was in ninth grade when the pandemic hit, so it has cast a shadow on their entire high school career. Our hearts are full of gratitude to the NBA Foundation and the New Orleans Pelicans for this generous grant, which will make it possible to send off our students with the celebration they’ve worked hard for and earned.”
Created in August 2020, the NBA Foundation is the league’s first-ever charitable foundation dedicated to driving economic opportunity for Black youth. The Foundation invests in local and national organizations that promote school-to-career and workforce development opportunities. For more information visit nbafoundation.com.
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