As he nears the end of his pledge to donate $1 million to organizations that aid troubled communities, Colin Kaepernick has picked up a pair of high-profile partners in philanthropy. Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are matching separate contributions of $10,000 the former 49ers quarterback is making to two Bay Area community organizations.
Kaepernick has been distributing the $1 million in monthly totals of $100,000 and although, having started doing so in October 2016, he appears to have taken a break after June of last year, he announced the final phase of the charitable drive on Tuesday. Kaepernick offered more specifics Wednesday, declaring in a video message that he would give away the final $100,000 by “donating 10k a day for the next 10 days.”
“I asked some of my friends what organizations I should donate to,” said Kaepernick, adding that “first up” would be a suggestion made by Durant. In addition, Kaepernick announced that Durant was matching his $10,000 donation to Silicon Valley De-Bug, a San Jose-based organization that describes itself as “a platform for Silicon Valley’s diverse communities to impact the political, cultural, and social landscape of the region, while also becoming a nationally recognized model for community-based justice work.”
“KD, thank you so much, brother, for continuing to uplift and empower our communities,” Kaepernick said. “We love and appreciate you.”
Per reporting by Bay Area media outlets, it appears that one of Kaepernick’s upcoming $10,000 donations will be matched by Curry and go to United Playaz, which describes itself as “a violence prevention and youth development organization that has worked in San Francisco for 20 years.” According to the San Jose Mercury News, Curry has partnered with United Playaz in the past on some of his own initiatives.
“A lot of it is centered around keeping kids off the streets really and into productive activities,” Curry said Wednesday of the organization to the newspaper. “We give them father figures to look up to.”
“I knew about Kaepernick’s Million Dollar Pledge almost a year ago, where he’s putting his money where his mouth is,” Curry added (via the San Francisco Chronicle). “I think the opportunity KD has and I have to bring that to the Bay Area, that opportunity to kind of rally around for what Kaepernick stands for and his mission to better communities through financial resources, that’s huge. It’s a small gesture that we all can do.”
The contribution to De-Bug brings Kaepernick’s charity drive full circle, in a way, as that organization was among the first to receive a financial gift from him, when he gave it $25,000 in October 2016. That was about a month after the quarterback, then with the 49ers, first declared his intention of “donating the first million dollars I make this season to different organizations to help these communities and help these people.”
“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and make the kind of money I do, and I have to help these people,” Kaepernick said at the time. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed, or given the opportunities to succeed.”
A few weeks before those remarks, Kaepernick had begun sitting during pregame renditions of the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America. He began kneeling instead, after a discussion with a former Green Beret, but his weekly demonstrations angered many NFL fans, even as they inspired some other athletes and won him wide-ranging admiration.
Kaepernick parted ways with the 49ers in March, and the fact that he has remained unemployed by NFL teams, despite turning only 30 in November and having a far better résumé than many other quarterbacks signed as free agents in that span, led to a grievance he filed against the league in October.
At this point, regardless of how the grievance process plays out, Kaepernick’s NFL career appears to be over. His $1 million charity drive is also nearing its end, but the quarterback is all but certain to continue his efforts toward social justice for the foreseeable future, and this week probably won’t feature the last of his collaborations with superstar athletes who hold him in high esteem.
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