Leonard, in his first public community appearance with the L.A. Clippers, makes clear his commitment to the SoCal community, starting in his hometown
Kawhi Leonard, the L.A. Clippers Foundation and non-profit community partner Baby2Baby, announced this morning a gift of one million backpacks intended to reduce stress on low-income families headed back to school across Southern California. Every single student in the Moreno Valley Unified, Inglewood Unified and Los Angeles Unified School Districts will receive a new backpack to start the school year. Leonard made the announcement at Cloverdale Elementary School in his hometown of Moreno Valley, and was joined afterwards by Baby2Baby Ambassadors Zooey Deschanel, Busy Philipps and Nicole Richie and Co-Presidents Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein at 107th Street Elementary School in Watts to distribute backpacks in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
“My goal this year is to make a meaningful contribution both on and off the court. This felt like the right way to get started. It was important to me to make this announcement in my hometown of Moreno Valley at my former Elementary School, but the benefits this program will have across all of Los Angeles makes today even more special,” said Leonard.
In LAUSD alone, last year 80% of K-12 students were eligible for free or reduced lunch, meaning they come from a low-income family, are homeless, or are in the foster program. This gift is the largest in LAUSD history impacting every single student. It will allow hundreds of thousands of families to take the money they would spend on a backpack and use it instead on essential items like food, rent, utilities and more, which can make a major difference in a family’s livelihood. Today is the first day of school for more than 600,000 LAUSD students.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard for this record-breaking donation to every student in Los Angeles Unified School District and beyond. Baby2Baby serves hundreds of thousands of children in poverty in Los Angeles, and backpacks are consistently one of the most highly-requested items for the school-aged children in our program,” said Sawyer Patricof and Weinstein. “For many of these children who are homeless or in foster care, backpacks not only hold their school books and homework, but also all of their personal belongings. If they have a backpack at all, it is often falling apart, and when a child does not have one, they resort to using a grocery or trash bag. The Clippers’ donation will make these children feel the pride they deserve and give them the confidence they need to start the school year off on the right foot.”
“There are a lot of families throughout the L.A. region working hard every day to earn everything in their lives. This program is our effort to extend a hand to make heading back to school a little easier,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations, L.A. Clippers. “Our deepest appreciation goes out to Kawhi Leonard and Baby2Baby’s incredible network of ambassadors who walk the walk when it comes to using their platforms and voices to provide real solutions to impact the everyday lives of the people around us.”
ABOUT THE L.A. CLIPPERS Led by Chairman Steve Ballmer, the L.A. Clippers in 2019-20 are competing in the franchise’s 50th season, after eight consecutive winning seasons and seven Playoffs appearances in the past eight seasons. Head Coach Doc Rivers, the winningest head coach in franchise history, has compiled the NBA’s 5th-best record over the course of his time in L.A. The Clippers are committed to the city of Los Angeles and through the L.A. Clippers Foundation, provide resources and opportunities that make a positive difference toward leveling the playing field for youth in Southern California. Visit the Clippers online at www.clippers.com or follow them on social media @LAClippers.
ABOUT BABY2BABY Baby2Baby, a non-profit organization led by Co-Presidents Kelly Sawyer Patricof and Norah Weinstein, provides children living in poverty, ages 0-12 years, with diapers, clothing and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. In the last 8 years, Baby2Baby has distributed over 70 million items to children in homeless shelters, domestic violence programs, foster care, hospitals and underserved schools as well as children who have lost everything in the wake of disaster. Every year, Baby2Baby serves hundreds of thousands of children across the country. To learn more about Baby2Baby please visit www.baby2baby.org.