Storm And Swedish Announce Community Champions Platform

Storm and its official health care team recognize local businesses and organizations serving Black communities and others disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

SEATTLE – The Seattle Storm and Swedish announced today the Swedish Community Champions platform to highlight businesses and organizations that are assisting the public in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. This partnership was announced as a key pillar in the Storm’s Force4Change social justice campaign on July 24, 2020.

This collaboration is a direct and tangible way as community partners to make a real difference. The Storm will donate $2,000 to each Swedish Community Champion and amplify its mission and work. The first three Swedish Community Champions will be the United Negro College Fund Pacific Northwest (UNCF), YMCA of Greater Seattle and Washington Therapy Fund Foundation. In addition to the initial donation, all proceeds from the Storm Equality t-shirts will be dispersed evenly among the Community Champions.

“It’s important for us to champion organizations that are run and supported by Black, Indigenous and People of Color who are in the midst of dealing with COVID-19 related effects,” said Swedish’s Director of Community Health Investment Sherry Williams. “This partnership highlights the shared values of the WNBA, Seattle Storm and Swedish. I believe we can and will serve our communities stronger together.”

“The Community Champions initiative is an important collaboration with Swedish, deeply anchored in our shared values and part of our comprehensive Force4Change platform this season,” said Alisha Valavanis, Storm CEO and General Manager. “We look forward to amplifying and supporting organizations committed to serving local Black communities and communities affected by COVID-19.”

UNCF Pacific Northwest works to eliminate barriers for minority and low-income students in the Pacific Northwest. They support talented and deserving students through scholarships, internships, and programs, providing over $300,000 in direct support to over 600 students and scholarship applicants from the Northwest.

Starting Sept. 12, UNCF Pacific Northwest will host the 15th annual Portfolio Project, an 11-week program that exposes underrepresented high school juniors and seniors to scholarship opportunities, local colleges and universities and historically Black colleges and universities.

YMCA of Greater Seattle’s mission is to strengthen communities in King and south Snohomish counties through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The Y’s Hunger Initiatives are aimed at providing meals and snacks for families experiencing food insecurity, as one in six kids in King County are.

In response to COVID-19, the Y has expanded its Hunger Initiatives to ensure that kids, families, and seniors have access to healthy meals and snacks no matter what. With help from community partners, they have distributed 280,000 meals at more than 60 sites across King County and are on track to serve 50% more meals than in 2019.

In response to the incessant police brutality and anti-Blackness, the Washington Therapy Fund Foundation provides minority populations with access to therapy at zero cost without insurance. Racial Trauma specialist, Ashley McGirt, aims to eliminate the stigma and financial barriers associated with therapy and mental health. In the first month of the Foundation, McGirt filled the goal of 100 spots solely through crowdfunded efforts. In the future, McGirt hopes to provide tuition assistance for minority groups to receive an education in therapy.
The remaining Swedish Community Champions will be released at a later date.

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