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HBSE creates new initiative to fight systemic racism

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment founders Josh Harris (l) and David Blitzer. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, owners of the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers and National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils among other properties, have created a new organization-wide effort to combat systemic racism, backing the initiative with a $10m commitment.

Adding to the $10m HBSE will already provide over the next decade through the newly created NBA Foundation, the additional $10m will be contributed over the next five years to several programs aimed at Black empowerment.

“As leaders and stewards of community pillars, the eyes of the world are on us to do better, and they should be,” said Josh Harris, HBSE founder. “While we will never be able to correct the past harm and injustice faced by Black Americans, it’s our duty to provide resources that enable tangible action and greater opportunities for equality.”

Within the supplemental $10m commitment, HBSE is targeting $5m of that to a new Buy Black Partnership Program, which is aimed at supporting Black-owned businesses. The other half of the targeted funds will be split among programs run by education and youth-oriented foundations of the 76ers and Devils, and neighborhood and real estate-oriented efforts designed to improve resident quality of life in Black communities.

In addition to the financial pledges, HBSE is implementing a series of other steps designed to create a more diverse and inclusive organization, including the hire of a chief diversity and impact officer, working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on career pipeline programs for graduating seniors, developing other retention and career advancement programs for minority employees, and establishing a new Black Employee Resource Group.

“It is crucial for us to take action in fighting against systemic racism and social injustices, which has persisted for far too long,” said David Blitzer, HBSE co-founder. “Moving forward, we are making a continued commitment to racial equality as a key focus of our business, advancing institutional and situational change where we live, work, and play.”

HBSE, meanwhile, remain in pursuit of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, with final bids for the franchise due at the end of August. The 76ers are also slated to begin their NBA playoff series on August 17 against the Boston Celtics.

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