BrandsNewsPeopleLIFEWTR, LeBron James to award $100K in grants

Byonce TyusFebruary 22, 2023

Last year, LIFEWTR and LeBron James announced that they would pair up for a multi-year partnership. This year, LIFEWTR announced that its work with James would award $100,000 in grants to people and communities.

With a plan to announce grant winners this coming April, the “More to Life” campaign has a goal to revitalize passion, talent, purpose and more.

Selection will start with students who attend James’ I PROMISE School (IPS). Through the LeBron James Family Foundation, IPS works to provide a safe space and better school life for at-risk students and those who are falling behind.

LIFEWTR – PepsiCo’s premium water brand – was created with a mission that went beyond pH-balancing hydration. The brand has also tapped into the art community, working with creators to produce designs that are featured in set themes on bottles and social media.

Last year for Black History Month, the water brand partnered with actress and producer Marsai Martin for its “Black Art Rising” initiative. Through a hashtag on social media, LIFEWTR asked its audience to send in their works of art that showcase life and purpose for a chance to win $1,000 and a featured spot on their bottles and TikTok.

LIFEWTR also launched its own study on the art world’s diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Like other industries, there has been a demand for representation in sports, and in sports marketing. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has seemingly answered that demand with results.

According to a 2020 report from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics Report (TIDES), more than half of the players were Black and the overall diversity was 83 percent.

The diversity decreased as the positions and levels in the league went higher. Thirty percent of head coaches were of color, compared to 33 percent in 2019, and general managers of color went up to 28 percent.

Those numbers are in comparison to TIDES’ 2022 report. In 2022, Black athletes still made up more than half of the players on the court, with the overall diversity of players remaining relatively stagnant at 82 percent.

People of color in higher positions are still less than the amount playing, but the numbers have significantly increased over the past two years.

In 2022, head coaches of color jumped up to 50 percent – compared to 30 percent in 2021 and 2020. Representation in general manager positions also grew to half – rising 10 percent from 2021, and nearly 30 percent from 2020.

Numbers are telling, and the league is putting up money to show its support.

Through the NBA Foundation, which is funded by all 30 teams, an initiative started as a way to support and uplift young talent. Created in 2020, the foundation dedicated over $300 million in grants to last a span of 10 years. Now on the seventh round of recipients, the initiative was started with the goal to further economic power and opportunity in the Black community.

Byonce Tyus

Byonce Tyus is a reporter for Marcom Weekly covering industry news, advertising conferences, and diverse-owned media trends.

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