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 on-court 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.
The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities. It honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. At the end of the 2019-20 regular season, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced at the 2020 NBA Awards presented by Kia. To learn more, please visit http://www.nba.com/communityassist/.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. about.kp.org
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA’s mission of addressing important social issues. NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than 5 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 1,300 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world. Internationally, NBA Cares has created more than 323 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in 40 countries and territories. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth, and family development, and health-related causes, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Vera Institute of Justice, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UNICEF, Special Olympics, The JED Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLSEN.