Social Impact

NBA Mission: Inspire and Connect People Everywhere Through The Power of Basketball

As part of the NBA’s mission we will continue to use our influence to effect change around a wide range of issues, including racial equality, health and wellness, education, environmental responsibility and sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. Our work in these areas all fall within the below programs and initiatives.

NBA Cares

NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that unites people and communities through the game of basketball and shines a light on important social issues – including race, gender, LGBTQ and health equity, education, physical and mental health and wellness, environmental responsibility, and youth, family and community development.

NBA Foundation

Established in August 2020, the NBA Foundation is the league’s first-ever charitable foundation dedicated to driving economic opportunity for Black youth in NBA markets across the United States and Canada. The Foundation invests in local and national organizations that promote school-to-career and workforce development opportunities. To date, it has provided more than $53 million in grant support to 130+ nonprofit organizations impacting 70,000 Black youth in all 28 NBA markets.

National Basketball Social Justice Coalition

The National Basketball Social Justice Coalition is an organization of players, coaches, team governors, and executives leading the NBA family’s advocacy work to dismantle racial inequality and advance social justice.

NBA Diversity and Inclusion

At the NBA, we celebrate our common love of the game, building connections that enable us to leverage our differences. Basketball transcends all dimensions of diversity – those you can see, and those you can’t. We practice inclusion through recruiting and development, culture and economic engagement.


The NBA’s ongoing support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) focuses on creating greater opportunity for students and alumni through professional development, career advancement, and increased support and awareness for HBCU athletics and institutions. Core components of this work include the NBA HBCU Fellowship Program and the NBA HBCU Classic.

Our Programs in Action

Jr. NBA Court of Leaders

On Thursday, November 10th the Jr. NBA announced the new members of the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders program. A youth leadership council comprised of high school players from around the country. The goal is to help young adults learn how to amplify their voices not only in their local communities, but also across the basketball landscape.

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Marcus Smart Wins October NBA Cares Community Assist Award

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart as the NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner for the month of October in recognition of his ongoing support for pediatric cancer patients and commitment to creating access to opportunity for inner-city student-athletes.

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WNBA Cares: Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award

New York Liberty, Betnijah Laney earned the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for outstanding leadership and commitment to the community.

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2023 NBA HBCU Classic

The Grambling State and Southern men’s basketball programs have been selected to play in the NBA HBCU Classic 2023.

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NBA Foundation Seventh Grant Round

The NBA Foundation has announced 12 new grants totaling $4.8 million, its largest grant round to-date.

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NBA Foundation: Second Anniversary

Created in August 2020, the NBA Foundation continues to focus on driving economic opportunity and empowerment in the Black community.

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NBA Social Impact Report

The 2021-22 NBA Social Impact Report is the first annual compilation of data and information regarding the league office’s efforts in what is commonly known as “Environmental, Social, and Governance“ (E.S.G.) work. Contents of the report include the league’s programs and initiatives around community outreach, youth and elite basketball development, social justice, and diversity and inclusion, among other important areas that reflect our values and commitment.

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FAQ: NBA Cares

Launched in 2005, NBA Cares serves as the league’s global social responsibility platform, fulfilling the NBA’s mission by working to address important social issues. Working alongside internationally recognized youth serving organizations, the NBA family has provided more than 6.2 million hours of hands-on service and helped create more than 2,041 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in 40 countries and territories.

All 30 NBA Teams work throughout the season to identify specific needs and challenges facing their communities and partner with local community stakeholders to make an impact through NBA Cares events and programming.

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FAQ: National Basketball Social Justice Coalition

The National Basketball Social Justice Coalition is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that leads the NBA family’s collaborative efforts to advance social justice. The Coalition was formed in 2020 as a joint venture of the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA).

The Coalition leverages the game of basketball’s influence to promote policy, build strategic partnerships, and empower action on racial inequality and social justice.

The Coalition is led by a board of fifteen, including 5 players, 5 team governors, 2 head coaches, the NBA Commissioner, the NBA Deputy Commissioner, and the Executive Director of the NBPA. Day-to-day operations are executed by a team of full-time Coalition employees.

Since tipping off its agenda, the Coalition has advocated on a bipartisan basis for better laws and policies on policing reform, on voting rights, and on criminal justice reform.

As a 501(c)(4) organization, the Coalition adds new tools to the NBA family’s social impact work—engaging in direct legislative and policy advocacy on justice issues.

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FAQ: NBA Foundation

The Foundation makes grants across the United States and Canada with a specific focus on the NBA’s 28 markets.

The first step in the NBA Foundation’s grantmaking process is submitting a brief application through the Foundation’s grants application portal. Additional instructions can be found here. If you have any questions or technical issues, please direct all inquiries to

To be considered for a grant from the NBA Foundation, your organization must meet the following requirements:

  • Qualify as a registered 501(c)3 tax organization or a T3010 if operating in Canada
  • Focus on promoting school-to-career employment opportunities that target Black youth ages 14-24 years old
  • Serve a minimum of 25 youth annually across your programs

The Foundation does not support:

  • Direct donations or grants to individuals
  • Individual scholarships or sponsorships
  • Projects or programs primarily focused on serving adults over the age of 25
  • Political campaigns and lobbying efforts
  • After school or Pre-K programs
  • Hospitals

The NBA HBCU Fellowship Program aims to provide career development opportunities in the business of basketball for undergraduate and graduate students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Fellows are selected by NBA teams and the league office to work within a variety of departments, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, legal, social responsibility, and marketing. The Fellowship Program is a paid 10-week summer internship program and will run from June – August.