The Detroit Pistons announced today that in connection with Thursday's nationally televised game versus the New York Knicks on Turner Network Television (TNT), the club's 15 players and key executives will commit a total of $500,000 to the FlintNOW relief effort launched last week by team owner Tom Gores.
"We've all been touched by the fact that children and families are suffering up in Flint," player representative Anthony Tolliver said in a statement on behalf of his teammates. "We want to do something to help, to make sure that those kids and their families have the long-term help they need to recover from this crisis. Our owner has stepped up, and now we're doing the same."
All 15 players will contribute, along with President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy; the two executives tapped by Mr. Gores to launch the FlintNOW effort, Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem and Platinum Equity Partner Mark Barnhill; and the Pistons organization's Detroit Pistons Foundation. NBA Cares and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver are also making separate contributions to support the efforts.
"As players and coaches, our focus is on basketball but our reach extends into the community," Mr. Van Gundy said. "Our guys want to make an impact not just on the court, but off it as well. We're very pleased to join Tom's efforts to bring both attention and resources to the crisis in Flint."
In-game programming for Thursday's game will celebrate those making a difference and helping the people of Flint. Players will wear special "FlintNOW" shooting shirts during pregame warm-ups. Children and volunteers from Flint have been invited to The Palace to watch the game and representatives from the Flint Child Health & Development Fund, The United Way of Genesee County and the American Red Cross will be honored, including Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint pediatrician who recognized increased lead exposure in Flint children and helped draw attention to the crisis. Other Flint-area personalities will be included during game-night festivities.
Pistons fans can join their favorite players and get into the action by contributing to the "FlintNOW" campaign through a special donation link at www.flintnow.org.
Money raised in connection with Thursday's game, including the contributions from players and executives, will be earmarked for three specific organizations:
- The Flint Child Health & Development Fund (www.flintkids.org), a partnership between The United Way of Genesee County, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Hurley Children's Hospital and the Greater Flint Health Coalition that was co-founded by Dr. Hanna-Attisha.
- The United Way of Genesee County's Flint Water Fund (www.unitedwaygenesee.org), which was set up for the purchase of filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts.
- The American Red Cross, which is coordinating relief efforts in Flint and is operating the Volunteer Reception Center for people to help with the distribution of water, water filters, replacement cartridges and water testing kits.
"These groups are active on the ground in Flint," Mr. Tellem said. "In the coming days we'll announce more partnerships. For now, we're keying on those community-based programs that can put the money to work immediately as they grapple with the city's burgeoning crisis. Our special focus is on the affected children and families. All of us – players, staff and Stan Van Gundy – are committed to making a difference. I'd also like to thank NBA Cares and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for their contributions to this cause."
Mr. Gores announced last week the formation of the FlintNOW Foundation and the FlintNOW Fund, dedicated to bringing both short- and long-term assistance to residents of Flint, Mich., where local children have been exposed to lead contamination in the city's drinking water. He committed to raising at least $10 million in private sector support, and sent the first $1 million up to Flint within 24 hours of the announcement.
FlintNOW is focused on rallying support from the business community for both short-term relief efforts, including clean water, filters and nutrition and health screening, and long term efforts focused on economic development, entrepreneurship and small business support for the community. Donations received by the FlintNOW Fund will be distributed to programs that directly support its mission, with full transparency and without administrative overhead or fees.
Additional information, including a mechanism for contributing directly to the effort, is available at www.flintnow.org. Follow us on twitter @FlintNOW and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FlintNOW/.