Legacy project for 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Indy to focus on youth-oriented groups

The NBA All-Star 2021 Host Committee on Tuesday announced a million-dollar legacy initiative that will focus on youth-oriented not-for-profits across Indiana.

The initiative coincides with the 70th NBA All-Star Game, which is scheduled to take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Feb. 14, 2021.

Officials said the initiative will provide grants of up to $50,000 for 21 brick-and-mortar capital improvement projects that focus on health and wellness (such as indoor/outdoor basketball courts, playgrounds, etc.) or education (such as STEM labs, reading centers, etc).

A high school-aged “Rising Star” will be selected from each of the 21 projects. Those 21 individuals will serve as honorary chairs of the Legacy Project and recruit others into the project.

The Rising Stars program will have a corresponding scholarship program as well.

“With the goal of creating a lasting impact well beyond NBA All-Star 2021, we aim to improve the lives of youth across the entire state with these 21 Legacy Grants and Rising Stars,” said Rick Fuson, president and chief operating officer of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, in a written statement. “Not only do we grow basketball here, we grow community here, too.”

Fuson said the project will be paid for through the Indianapolis Championship Fund, which raises money for the All-Star Game, the 2022 College Football Playoff Championship and the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Most of the money for the fund comes from local businesses, organizations and individuals.

The city and state also are contributing to various initiatives tied to the All-Star Game.

Interested not-for-profits have until Dec. 31 to apply for the grants via the Sports Exchange managed by Indiana Sports Corp. Grantees will be publicly announced after the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

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