Official Team Release: PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUG. 17, 2020 – Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), a dynamic organization comprised of premier sports and entertainment properties, including the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils, is unveiling a company-wide action plan to fight systemic racism, and in pursuit of that mission, is pledging $10 million over the next five years to drive action and invest in the cities where our teams live, work, play and perform. HBSE has committed a total of $20 million to fighting systemic racism and championing equality, including a $10 million contribution from the 76ers to the NBA’s newly-announced foundation to drive economic empowerment in Black communities.
“As leaders and stewards of community pillars, the eyes of the world are on us to do better, and they should be. 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. 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. We are deeply committed to fighting for a better, more inclusive future and we pledge to be leaders in doing so,” said Josh Harris, HBSE Founder.
HBSE Co-Founder David Blitzer echoed, “It is crucial for us to take action in fighting against systemic racism and social injustices, which have persisted for far too long. 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. We cannot and will not tolerate racism, injustice or hate, and take responsibility to be a part of the solution for the future of our industry, the cities we serve and our country as a whole.”
Investing in Black Communities
HBSE is committed to community development efforts that revitalize the neighborhoods where its teams and fans are located. Through partnerships with Black developers, local community groups and officials, HBSE Real Estate’s Community Advancement Program will advance equitable, community-driven revitalization through significant investments, including:
- A minimum of $2.5 million to be donated to organizations and efforts that improve resident quality of life and further equitable development in Black communities (e.g., employment programs, home-buying assistance for long-time residents, public space improvements, youth programming); and
- Consistent capital commitments into real estate projects that advance community priorities in Black neighborhoods, such as affordable housing, health centers, commercial corridor improvements, among others.
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses and Entrepreneurs
Consistent with its dedication to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit, HBSE will implement new initiatives to support Black-owned businesses with competitive opportunities and marketing resources.
- The 76ers and Devils will contribute more than $5 million in marketing assets to Black-owned businesses via HBSE’s new Buy Black Partnership Program.
- HBSE will increase expenditure with Black-owned businesses through our new Diversity Procurement Program, which will include partnerships with organizations such as the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ and DE.
Promoting Education, Health, and Employment
HBSE will commit $2.5 million through the Sixers Youth Foundation and Devils Care Foundation, continuing to work through their Corporate Responsibility programs to support positive education, health and employment outcomes in Black communities. This commitment builds upon efforts made by HBSE to promote racial equity in Newark, Camden and Philadelphia, including the following upcoming and recent efforts:
- The Philadelphia 76ers pledge to provide free internet access to more than 1,000 School District of Philadelphia families; and
- The recent endowment of separate donations made to the Newark Boys & Girls Club and the Urban League of Essex County, inspired by Devils Defenseman P.K. Subban’s $50,000 donation to the GoFundMe campaign dedicated to Gionna Floyd, the six-year-old daughter of the late George Floyd. Subban’s donation was matched by the NHL.
Amplifying a Workplace of Respect, Inclusion, and Diversity:
HBSE is dedicated to supporting Black and minority executives entering and ascending in the sports and entertainment industry and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace through recruitment, dynamic partnerships and programs that provide support and enrichment opportunities for all employees and athletes. To accomplish these goals, HBSE will:
- Hire a Chief Diversity and Impact Officer to lead internal and external diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives across the organization;
- Strengthen HBSE’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board and new Black Employee Resource Group with support groups, workshops and a speaker series to foster continued race-based education, empathy and mindfulness within our organizational culture;
- Focus on new recruitment, retention and career advancement programs to increase the representation of Black and minority employees across HBSE; and
- Partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to connect graduating college seniors with career pipelines and exposure at HBSE.