Giving Back: The Warriors Community Foundation Supports the Bay

Community commitment has been part of the Golden State Warriors ethos for decades. But the current efforts by the team’s community foundation place the NBA champs within a giving echelon unmatched by few other professional sports teams. Since inception of the Warriors Community Foundation in 2012, and under the guidance of the foundation’s board president, Nicole Lacob, the team has raised more than $35 million in support of education and youth development. This past year, the Warriors Community Foundation granted a record $3.5 million to 62 Bay Area nonprofits, including annual flagship grants to the Oakland Unified School District and San Francisco Unified School District. 2023’s record number tops last year’s $2.4 million as the most-ever awarded in a single season.

Warriors Community Foundation Board President Nicole Lacob (third from right) presents the foundation’s cumulative 2023 season grant amount

The grants—made to 27 organizations within Alameda County, 16 within San Francisco County, and 19 that offer programming in both areas—ranged from $20,000 to $150,000, and support a variety of programs and organizations, including investments in college access, STEAM, elementary literacy, middle school enrichment and career preparation.

“Given the ongoing pandemic-related challenges students and educators continue to face, we were thrilled to announce a more than $1 million year-over-year increase in grants given this season,” said Lacob. “Because of the incredible generosity of our donors, we are able to continue to do our part in supporting and uplifting organizations who do incredible work in the educational community.”

To further illustrate the teams’ community dedication, Warriors players and coaches made personal calls to various recipients of the 2023-24 Warriors Community Foundation season grants to inform them of their funds. Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr and guards Moses Moody and Gary Payton II were among the representatives to make calls on behalf of the Warriors Community Foundation.

Celebrating the inauguration of the new Dogpatch Community Court, supported by the Warriors Community Foundation

“I got a call from Gary Payton II and I could not believe it!” said Bita Nazarian, Executive Director of 826 Valencia. “It was such a special surprise, which made our work feel even more celebrated. It is so clear that this commitment to the community is not just lip service, but something that permeates the entire organization.”

The grant to 826 Valencia helped the organization open its Mission Bay Center, allowing more students access to free writing, tutoring, and publishing programs. During the past year, 6,775 students were served with 3,889 program hours. “With the support of the Warriors Community Foundation, we’re well on our way to meeting or exceeding those numbers this year,” said Nazarian. “The Foundation also serves as a resource, lending their space for our staff meetings, providing goody bags to honor our partner teachers, offering us free tickets to events for morale boosting, and supporting our new literacy coalition. Receiving their support is a huge honor and privilege. It feels like we are part of a supportive and winning team.”

“It’s always great to receive word of a new grant that our District is receiving, but there is something extra special about landing a grant when you receive the good news from a beloved Bay Area sports icon such as Coach Steve Kerr,” said Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent. “It was entirely unexpected and so exciting to receive the great news from someone I admire, and whose life’s work is synonymous with success. This is exactly the kind of thing that reminds us how deeply the Golden State Warriors are invested in the Bay Area at large, and Oakland schools specifically.”

Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell and student

The Warriors Community Foundation grant to OUSD supports the district’s strategic plan and its initiatives, such as the Reading Warriors project that provides resources for at-home literacy kits, improved school to home communication about key literacy activities and benchmarks (e.g., early literacy foundation skills in sight words), and expanded book offerings for classroom libraries. Math resources focus on high dose tutoring and support to boost math attainment for students. And the Mental Health First Aid project is designed to greatly expand the number of teachers and staff trained to identify, refer, and support students experiencing mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression.

“The Warriors Community Foundation sees OUSD as part of the Warriors’ family,” said Johnson-Trammell. “The support has a profound and obvious practical impact in our schools and to our staff and students. Their grants have made an enormous difference in advancing the key initiatives of Oakland Unified School District.”

The team’s most recent fundraising effort, the 10th annual Warriors Community Foundation Poker Tournament, presented by MGM Rewards, raised a record high $3.5 million. Held March 8 at Chase Center, the event included participating partners such as Confirmed360, Jason of Beverly Hills, Mercedes-Benz, Moët Hennessy, Rakuten and Silver Oak.

Klay Thompson participates in the 10th Annual Warriors Community Foundation Poker Tournament
Chris Paul antes up

A live auction held during the event raised more than $850,000 and was highlighted by marquee items including a bourbon experience with Stephen Curry surrounding the release of his one-time Player Exclusive Gentleman’s Cut bourbon, and the chance to play games of HORSE with Trayce Jackson-Davis, Chris Paul and Brandin Podziemski.

Attendees of the annual Poker Tournament included Warriors players and coaches and professional poker player Phil Hellmuth, who served as an emcee for the event. One hundred percent of the net proceeds raised will be awarded to Bay Area non-profits ahead of the 2024-25 NBA season as part of the Warriors Community Foundation’s annual grant cycle.

“Throughout the organization, these are people who want to truly make a difference in the community, from front office staff to players to coaches,” said Johnson-Trammell. “It’s wonderful for our students, staff, and families to know that we always have the Warriors on our team.”

For a full list of 2023-24 grantees, CLICK HERE.

Photos courtesy of the Golden State Warriors, the Warriors Community Foundation, and Kyla Johnson-Trammell


Fran Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is an experienced travel, wine, and general feature writer for a variety of luxury lifestyle publications and websites. Prior to her journalism career she established and managed the Golden State Warriors' first official community relations department and efforts. Principled and genuine, she’s known for thoughtfully eloquent writing. When not traveling, she can be found walking her Northern California neighborhood with her beloved golden retriever Nate.