ABOUT THE KYLE KORVER FOUNDATION
The Kyle Korver Foundation began literally on the streets of Philadelphia working with city kids. Meeting with children in the projects north of center city, it became clear that bleak urban statistics are nameless faceless numbers that do not tell the whole story. The Kyle Korver foundation believes that a grassroots individualistic approach is the way to enact change. One child, one family, one class, one school, one neighborhood, one city.
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By offering athletic opportunity, academic support, Christian guidance, and nurturing of the gifts of the children, it is strongly believed that change is possible. From Philadelphia to Omaha to Salt Lake City (and points between), the Foundation is committed to offering opportunity to the disadvantaged and hope to the hopeless.
When I was a young boy, I watched my father start a program called Looking Good. Basically 300 volunteers set out through the city every other Saturday, cleaning up garbage, planting trees and flowers and painting over graffiti. A city was transformed. Paramount, CA went from one of the 10 worst cities in America with a population under 40,000 to a thriving city again.
We didn't really offer that much. Helping hands, some paint brushes, a positive attitude. Really just love. But over time, not only did the city look different, it felt different. People started to take pride in them selves and in how their neighborhoods looked. An overall attitude changed. Gangs were no longer welcome, crime rates dropped.
I was a young boy, but it was engrained in my heart: When you can help, its what you do. Its not done for reward. Its not done because you have to. It's not done so others can see. It's done because you can. The golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
A few years back, while I was with the Philadelphia 76ers, I became apart of a Bible study that met in north Philly. It was a tough neighborhood but was also the only place we could meet. So we did. At one of the first studies some neighborhood kids starting throwing apples at us. We were white, they were punks, but then one Tuesday a few of us were playing catch with a football and the same kids walked up asking to play. They talked trash, we talked trash back, and everyone had a great time. We showed up early the next Tuesday night hoping they would come back. They did. Basketball, football, wiffle ball, pitch quarters, you name it we did it.
Around that time, with the help of my family, I started a foundation. Naturally our initial focus was this neighborhood in Northern Liberties. We put up some basketball hoops at their school and the principal welcomed us to their classrooms. They started sharing their lives with us, and we listened. That was about 4 years ago. That same study group still shows up on Tuesdays, to work with k-8th graders and now on Wednesdays too for a high school night. We still listen, they still talk trash, but now we also talk school work, during tutoring sessions. We talk sports, but during soccer and basketball camps. We promote creativity, through arts, crafts, and games. We are renovating the Helping Hands mission so that after school, the kids have a place they can study, play, relax, or whatever they feel.
Omaha NE. Home of Creighton University. Go Bluejays. My alma mater. I still bleed blue. I loved playing basketball there. I did not, however, love the boys and girls club's track, near Creighton's campus where our team did its preseason conditioning. One day when we showed up to run ourselves ragged, I noticed a bunch of kids sitting on the front steps, waiting for rides. Parents were tied up. But when we left they were still there. They wanted a ride home worse than I did. A bunch of old teammates and college friends helped start a golf fundraiser. Now the boys and girls club has vans to bring the kids to and from wherever they need to go. We have done this tournament for 3 years, each year finding a new cause within the Boys and Girls Club to help.
Salt Lake City has been home for the last 2.5 years. Never saw it coming, but I was traded there a couple years ago. And I'm glad it happened. In Salt Lake we have developed a construction company of sorts. We have our own warehouse/workshop. Our own construction coordinator. We welcome requests to fix up homes, shelters, anyone who needs help. If it is within our means, we will try to make it happen. We have shingled houses, built custom cabinets, redone floors, bathrooms, kitchen remodels, put in handicap railing, and dozens of handicap ramps.
Every year we have tried to think of original fundraisers. One year in Philly we broke the Guiness Book of World Records for longest kickball game ever. It sounds greatÉit was miserable. The record was 24 hrs. We went in with the plan to shatter it. Maybe 30 hrs? We broke the 24 hr mark, then went 15 more min. A better idea would have been see who can sleep the longest afterwards! Last fall along with Deron Williams' Point of Hope Foundation, we set up a dodge ball tournament, where 40 teams came to our practice facility and took turns being knocked out by the eventual champions ;)
As fun as fundraisers can be, and we will continue to try to come up with new ideas.. a new idea has been created. We have developed a t-shirt line called Seer Clothing. A seer is a visionary or a prophet; someone who gives pictures or images for social change. In this line we are working with seven themes.
Strength, courage, honor, respect, knowledge, peace, faith/hope/love
Each gender has seven themed shirts and one Seer branding shirt. Each shirt portrays a theme, through an image.
So going back to our definition of Seer. Our t-shirts are our images. The change hopefully comes through the money we raise as we put 100% of it back into our foundation.
It is important that our kids in Philly and Omaha learn that strength is not being physically strong. It is not being the bully on the playground. It is not being the kid who can hang with the older kids. As we define it, strength is "having a fierce confidence in who you are. Have the tenacity to face any moral and social pressure with unwavering conviction."
The Bleak urban statistics of Philadelphia, Omaha and SLC have become people we know, respect and care for. Out of 4 years of relationships we have developed a grass roots relationship-driven strategy to develop positive, holistic change. We are focused on children. WE believe change is possible and works through authentic relationships, athletic opportunities, academic support, talent development and Christian guidance. We are committed to creating and sustaining these opportunities. To show love. To give love. And to help others do the same. Join us.