By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
and Deborah Bailey,
The Durant Family Foundation and Bowie State University (BSU) have announced a $500,000 award to the institution. BSU and the Foundation are calling for Black athletes to “give back” with investments in historically Black colleges and universities.
Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant formed the organization, which is led by Prince George’s County philanthropist Wanda Durant.
Thr $500,000 award went to the BSU Athletics Department. The funds will be used to revamp the A.C. Jordan Arena at Bowie State University, built in the 1990s.
The Durant Family Foundation gift will also create a scholarship for Durant Center College Track students who attend the university.
“This is home,” Wanda Durant said of the Prince George’s County community where, as a single mother, she raised Anthony (Tony) and Kevin. “My sons frequented here when they were younger. My son wants the community of Prince George’s County to know that he’s not forgotten about where he’s come from,” said Durant.
She added: “He realizes the importance of giving back, especially to an HBCU, because it has such an impact in our communities for generations to come. And, he’s a Bulldog fan.”
The Durant Family Foundation, founded in 2013, has already renovated more than 25 basketball courts for kids and young adults around the world.
Wanda Durant noted that her son, Kevin, decided to make the contribution because it would not only benefit BSU students but their families and communities as well. For him, education is the path to strengthening communities.
The renovation at BSU will include the installation of a new basketball court, updates to the press box and the expansion of seating capacity in the arena.
Coaches of BSU’s men and women’s basketball teams, Darrell Brooks and Shadae Swan, attended the announcement and expressed their excitement for the investment. Players from both BSU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams had front row seats for the announcement, as well.
“There’s really no words to express our gratitude. I’ve been here for the past 10 years and we’ve been seriously in need of renovation for at least the past five,” said Swan. “Your gift makes that dream a reality.”
Durant’s donation to BSU is just one in a handful of investments the National Basketball Association star has made to Prince George’s County.
In 2018, Durant committed $10 million to establish College Track, a 10-year program that helps underprivileged students attend college, at the Durant Center in Suitland, Md.
BSU President Aminta H. Breaux pointed out that while BSU and many other HBCUs across the nation have received larger gifts in recent years, Black colleges have been under-funded for years and are still closing the gap.
“39 percent of our students are first generation,” said Breaux. “As you look around this campus today, while we have new buildings on campus, we have over $75 million dollars in deferred payments. Many of our students continue to have that financial gap, and we need to close in on that gap. We’re not there yet, our work continues,” Breaux concluded.
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