– NBA and Kaiser Permanente to Donate $10,000 to the International 22q11.2 Foundation–
NEW YORK, Dec. 23, 2019 – Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has received the November NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente in recognition of his efforts to impact the lives of local children and families through his Devin Booker Starting Five initiative, the NBA announced today. The award recognizes a player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
Booker created the Devin Booker Starting Five to further his commitment to the Phoenix community, pledging $500,000 annually to five different youth-serving nonprofits in Arizona, and a total of $2.5 million over the course of five years. In November, he announced Special Olympics Arizona, Ability 360, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UMOM New Day Centers and Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center as members of the Starting Five. Booker invited the organizations to Talking Stick Resort Arena to surprise each of them with an initial $100,000 donation. The funding will allow the organizations to address critical areas of need, including the construction and refurbishment of facilities, expansion of family services, improved patient support and investments in research.
In addition to his financial support, Booker will provide special experiences and meet other organizational needs throughout the year. To brighten the holidays, he planned a shopping spree for families from UMOM, served as a guest coach with the Ability 360 wheelchair basketball team and participated in Special Olympics Arizona’s Guardian Games. Since arriving in Phoenix in 2015, Booker has consistently and passionately served the community and those in need, making annual visits to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, participating in events with Special Olympics Arizona, and selecting deserving youth to accompany him at the 2016 and 2017 NBA Draft Lottery.
“Giving back to the community has been a commitment of mine since the day I was drafted and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here in Phoenix,” Booker said. “Launching the ‘Booker Starting Five’ was a dream come true for me, my greatest assist to date. I’m blessed to be in a position to make a significant impact and I can’t wait to watch this program change lives for years to come.”
NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will present the award to Booker during an oncourt ceremony before the Suns’ home game tonight against the Denver Nuggets (9:00 p.m. ET). In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Booker’s behalf to the International 22q11.2 Foundation.