The owners of the New Jersey Devils have pledged $20 million to help combat systemic racism and champion equality.
Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association, unveiled a five-year plan Monday to help eradicate racism and fight inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
"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," said Josh Harris, the Devils managing partner and HBSE founder. "We are committing to a fundamental change in our business strategy by embedding our organization with Black communities and businesses through significant investment and sustained."
HBSE's initiative focuses on increasing opportunities for Black Americans and Black-owned businesses through several programs. For example, the Devils and 76ers will contribute more than $5 million in marketing assets to Black-owned businesses through HBSE's Buy Black Partnership Program.
HBSE will also increase its expenditure with Black-owned businesses through a new Diversity Procurement Program, which will include partnerships with entities like the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
The organization will commit $2.5 million through the Devils Care Foundation and the Sixers Youth Foundation to support positive education, health and employment outcomes in Black communities.
Recent donations include $20,000 each to the Newark Boys & Girls Club and the Urban League of Essex County, gifts that were inspired by Devils defenseman P.K. Subban's $50,000 donation in June to the GoFundMe campaign for Gianna Floyd, George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter. The NHL matched Subban's donation, which helped the GoFundMe effort exceed $2.3 million.
HBSE will donate a minimum of $2.5 million to organizations and efforts that focus on equitable development in Black communities, emphasizing employment programs, home-buying assistance for long-time residents, public space improvements and youth programming.
"It is crucial for us to take action in fighting systemic racism and social injustices, which have persisted for far too long," said David Blitzer, co-managing partner of the Devils and an HBSE co-founder. "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 tolerate racism, injustice or hate, and take responsibility to be part of the solution for the future of our industry, the cities we serve and our country as a whole."
HBSE's pledge comes on top of a $10 million contribution from the 76ers towards a $300 million commitment by the NBA for a newly-created foundation to increase economic empowerment in Black communities.
HBSE is also toward becoming more diverse and inclusive internally. It's hiring a chief diversity and impact officer; strengthening its diversity and inclusion advisory board; forming a new Black employee resource group; and partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to give graduating college seniors with career pipelines and exposure in the organization.
"We are deeply committed to fighting for a better, more inclusive future," Harris said, "and we pledge to be leaders in doing so"