SEATTLE — Golden State Warriors basketball star, Klay Thompson, may be famous for his ability to hit three-pointers, but his long-standing dedication to philanthropy deserves equal recognition by the public. Since joining the NBA, Thompson has continuously devoted his time and money to assisting various nonprofit organizations. In fact, in 2015, just four years after being drafted, Thompson was already named as a finalist for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his work in the California Bay Area.
The Thompson Family Foundation
Impressively, Klay Thompson’s charity work has since expanded beyond the boundaries of the U.S. In 2017, Thompson, along with other members of his family, created the Thompson Family Foundation. Its mission includes “enrich[ing]the lives of youth in the United States and the Bahamas through fitness and education.” As Klay Thompson’s father, who also played in the NBA in the 1980s, is from the Bahamas, Klay Thompson feels a deep connection towards the country and regularly visits family there.
In 2018, the family hosted its first big fundraising event. The event, a celebrity golf tournament, featured sports stars such as Stephen Curry and Marshawn Lynch. Proceeds went to building youth programs in both the Bahamas and the U.S.
Hurricane Dorian Efforts
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Klay Thompson’s charity work has discovered a new purpose: providing both long and short term relief to a country devastated by a Category 5 storm. On Sept. 1, 2019, Dorian landed on the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas as one of the most powerful hurricanes on record. It left utter devastation in its wake. The official death toll was 69 people; however, as of Nov. 20, 2019, 282 people are still missing.
The estimated total cost of the hurricane’s impact includes $3.4 billion in damages and upheaval. Unfortunately, this is over a quarter of the country’s GDP. The hurricane also caused a large oil spill, wrecking the fragile sea life that lures tourists to the Bahamas.
The event clearly affected Klay Thompson and the rest of his family. Posting on Instagram two weeks after the hurricane, he wrote, “people have lost everything — loved ones, family, possessions, homes…This is far from a quick fix, it will take years and years of rebuilding.” In the caption, he also pledged to funnel the funds from his foundation towards helping Bahamians. “We will be focused on not only the short-term but also the long-term relief while working with local personnel to provide impactful support to the area and people in need,” he explained.
Since then, Klay Thompson’s charity work has lived up to his promise. The Foundation donated all the proceeds from its Second Annual Golf Tournament in late September 2019 towards Dorian rebuilding efforts. However, Klay Thompson went even further. His foundation agreed to match all funds donated toward the Dorian rebuilding efforts. Using these preliminary funds, the foundation distributed basic necessities to Bahamians in early fall. Additionally, the organization promised to keep the public updated in the future about how this money is improving the lives of Bahamians after the storm.
Klay Thompson’s charity work is an excellent example of celebrities using their money and fame towards reducing global injustice and poverty. Hopefully, Thompson’s charity work can be a model for other sports stars to improve the lives of others.
– Chace Pulley
Photo: Wikimedia Commons