The NBA is awarding Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. with the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for the month of December in recognition of his ongoing commitment to support, uplift and inspire the Memphis community.
The monthly honor recognizes a player who best demonstrates the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
To tip off the holiday season, Jaren Jackson Jr. launched his first-ever social media fundraising campaign, “Much Required,” on Giving Tuesday to support young Memphians.
With an initial $150,000 personal contribution, he raised nearly $200,000 in one day to support five local youth organizations: ArtsMemphis, Girls Inc. of Memphis., Memphis Slim House, Vance Avenue Youth Development Center and Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.
Additionally, Jackson Jr. assisted 13 families in eliminating overdue housing and utility bills around the holidays, giving each family more than $500 dollars.
To accomplish this, Jackson Jr. worked closely with the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), whose mission is to support the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis through high-impact programs.
Since arriving in Memphis, a city with a profound history in civil rights, Jaren Jackson Jr. has found meaningful ways to encourage people in his local community to create positive change.
To help increase awareness for election participation, he made a PSA to encourage eligible voters through the message that “every election matters, every vote matters, and every voter matters,” and continues to annually highlight why voting and using one’s voice is critical to improving their communities.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jackson Jr. used his platform to raise awareness around the importance of vaccinations and was one of the first players to support the City of Memphis and Shelby County’s #MASKUPMEMPHIS campaign, which provides face masks to those in underserved communities, specifically those in Black and Brown communities.
He is also an inaugural co-chair of the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders, a development and mentorship program to provide resources and a platform to champion the next generation of leaders, and an annual supporter of the Memphis Grizzlies Grizz Ticket Assist program, donating more than 800 tickets this season to allow underserved youth to attend a game.
“Finding meaningful ways to support the youth and families in the city of Memphis is very powerful,” said Jackson Jr. “My Grandmother always reminds me that ‘to whom much is given, much is required,’ and that is how I want to live my life and honor the people around me. I’m humbled to receive this award for the month of December, and I will continue to support this great city and use my voice to continue to advocate for the greater good.”
Jackson Jr. was presented with the award ahead of Memphis’ home game against the Dallas Mavericks at 10 p.m. ET by Grizzlies President Jason Wexler and Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations and General Manager Zachary Kleiman. The NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $10,000 on Jackson Jr.’s behalf to the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.