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NBA Foundation Grant Supports RAMP Programming in Collaboration with Community Schools in Seven NBA Markets

WASHINGTON D.C. – April 6, 2022 – The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) is among 40 organizations to receive funding from the NBA Foundation to create employment opportunities, further career advancement, and drive greater economic empowerment for Black youth throughout the United States and Canada. Named as part of the NBA Foundation’s fifth grant round and the first of 2022, the grants are focused on workforce development, pathways for higher education, mentoring, and entrepreneurship for Black youth.

IEL’s 18-month grant will support the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), in collaboration with Community Schools in their service areas. RAMP is a high-tech, career-focused mentoring program for youth with disabilities involved with or at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. “Youth with disabilities are often overlooked in youth provider programs, and youth of color with disabilities are frequently left out of conversations about inequity,” said Eddie Koen, IEL’s president. “We are grateful to the NBA Foundation for supporting us to expand RAMP across the country and to sustain the program through a partnership with Community Schools.” 

RAMP reconnects youth to schools and their communities. The program engages families and creates caring adult mentoring relationships to build trust and sustain the progress of youth participants. Importantly, RAMP offers youth with disabilities a voice and opportunities to lead and advocate for the issues that are most important to them, while creating successful inroads to jobs and careers.

“As we enter our second year of funding and surpass the $30 million initially provided by the NBA Board of Governors to establish the Foundation, our work with national and local organizations that are driving economic opportunity for Black youth in the NBA’s 28 markets continues to strengthen and evolve,” said Greg Taylor, NBA Foundation Executive Director.  “We look forward to our growth in the year ahead and are excited to establish new relationships with non-profits serving Black youth and to further collaborate with the organizations who have demonstrated their impact.”

This donation is part of a larger effort by the  NBA Foundation to support pipeline development for high school, college-aged, job-ready and mid-career individuals in their communities. To date, they have awarded 118 grants totaling more than $33 million to non-profit organizations. The funding was seeded by the NBA Board of Governors in 2021 for a $300 million dollar investment over 10 years. 

The full list of the 40 grantees and their efforts can be viewed HERE.

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 About the NBA Foundation

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.  

About IEL 

IEL supports and builds the capacity of community leaders, cultivating networks of grassroots movement builders that are advocating for transformation within the education, workforce, and accessibility systems to advance racial healing and justice, disability inclusion, and economic equity in over 400 communities. To do so, we partner with under-resourced communities to equip leaders to better prepare children, youth, adults, and families for postsecondary education and training, rewarding careers, and civic and community engagement. 

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