Ryan Narramore, Valley of the Sun United Way, 602.499.8894, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mychael Ramirez, Phoenix Suns, 623.337.7365, email@example.com
New partnership helps launch workforce development initiative for Black and Latina young women
PHOENIX (Aug. 10, 2022)—The NBA Foundation announced today that Valley of the Sun United Way will be awarded a multi-year grant as a part of its sixth grantee cohort for its Pathways to Economic Opportunity workforce development initiative for young Black and Latina women.
A collaboration of seven community-based organizations, the Pathways to Economic Opportunity program will work with young Black and Latina women to close the wealth gap by providing job skills training, financial literacy workshops, work experiences and upskilling. The initiative will also establish pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships, internships, mentoring and academic opportunities for Black and Latina women.
“Valley of the Sun United Way is proud to partner with the NBA Foundation to support young Black and Latina women in the Phoenix metro area through our collaborative Pathways to Economic Opportunity initiative,” said Carla Vargas Jasa, president and CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way. “Recognizing current and historical gender and racial gaps in pay, Pathways to Economic Opportunity will help our next generation of women leaders succeed and reach their goals through job skills training, hands-on experiences and mentorship.”
Early work experiences enable youth to gain technical skills, soft skills and develop professional networks that lead to prosperous career pathways. Unfortunately, lower-income Black and Latina young women often don’t have access to these opportunities, making it nearly impossible to be on equal footing when entering the workforce. This creates a significant wealth gap.
In Arizona, Black women make $0.64 and Latina women make $0.53 for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men make.
“Through our partnerships, Pathways to Economic Opportunity deliberately addresses the racial wealth gap and opens pathways to access and equity to drive systemic change and future success for young Black and Latina leaders,” added Jasa.
As a longstanding partner to the community, the Phoenix Suns will support Valley of the Sun United Way to amplify awareness and outreach efforts across the greater Phoenix area.
The Phoenix Suns has invested $2 million into the NBA Foundation’s Social Justice Fund since it was founded in 2020. The Suns’ organization is focused on offering diverse communities equal opportunity and is committed to supporting this grant through additional resources.
“We are honored to assist Valley of the Sun United Way to generate positive impact to the underrepresented communities in Arizona,” said Sarah Krahenbuhl, vice president of social responsibility and executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities. “Together, we can create generational change for equality, justice and opportunity.”
The Pathways to Economic Opportunity initiative was developed and launched in partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona, Chicanos Por La Causa, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation, Pipeline AZ, Southwest Human Development and YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix.
To learn more about Pathways to Economic Opportunity, please visit www.vsuw.org/pathways.
Video Available for Media Use
•VSUW/NBA Foundation Grant (1:23): https://vimeo.com/732252310/e9eb0124cd
•Mighty Change Goals (1:35): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opSUG2BDn1Q
•Be a Voice of Mighty Change (0:59): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kbCOQg-jZw
About Valley of the Sun United Way
Valley of the Sun United Way envisions a community where every child, family and individual is healthy, has a safe place to live, and has every opportunity to succeed in school, in life and in work. As we work with our community, corporate and nonprofit partners to implement our five-year plan for Mighty Change by 2026, Valley of the Sun United Way will put all of its efforts toward reaching Bold Goals for Maricopa County in health, housing and homelessness, education and workforce development. Join us at www.vsuw.org.
About the NBA Foundation
Created in August 2020, 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. For more information visit nbafoundation.com.
About Phoenix Suns
Anchored by the coach-executive tandem of 2022 Coach of the Year Monty Williams and 2021 Executive of the Year General Manager James Jones and led by All-NBA guard Devin Booker alongside future Hall of Famer Chris Paul, a new chapter of the Phoenix Suns has arrived. The franchise’s culture is emphasized by relentless defensive identity and complemented by the “0.5” offensive system predicated on ball and body movement, quick decision-making and unselfish basketball. As Arizona’s original professional sports franchise, the Suns have been regarded as one of the most successful NBA franchises on and off the court as leaders positively impacting The Valley.