Josh Harris, co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, and his wife, Marjorie, join students during an After School All-Stars Community Event. (Courtesy HBSE)
Funding for Black communities in Philly, Camden, Newark
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, ownership group of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, has formed a plan to fight systemic racism. The company, which also runs Prudential Center, the home of the Devils, has committed to investing $10 million over the next five years in the cities where their teams live, work and perform, officials said.
As part of the commitment, the company will donate $2.5 million to help revitalize neighborhoods in those areas through HBSE Real Estate’s Community Advancement Program to provide affordable housing, health centers and commercial improvements. The program includes home-buying assistance for longtime residents and upgrading public spaces for youth activities.
Another $2.5 million will go to the Sixers Youth Foundation and Devils Care Foundation nonprofits to support education, health and employment opportunities in the Black communities of Philadelphia and Newark and Camden, N.J. The initiative extends to the 76ers providing free internet access to 1,000 families in the School District of Philadelphia.
A total of $5 million is dedicated to boosting Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs through the Buy Black Partnership and Diversity Procurement programs. Partnerships extend to groups such as the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
On its own, HBSE has committed to hiring a chief diversity and impact officer, and plans to strengthen its diversity and inclusion advisory board and new Black Employee Resource Group with workshops and a speaker series. The effort extends to partnering with historically Black colleges and universities to connect graduating seniors with career opportunities at HBSE.
The initiative is in addition to the $10 million commitment over 10 years from the 76ers to the NBA’s newly formed foundation to drive economic growth in Black communities, which was announced Aug. 5.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment also owns the G League’s Delaware Blue Coats, the American Hockey League’s Binghamton (N.Y.) Devils, the 76ers training complex in Camden and an NBA 2K esports team.