Perhaps no one cared more about the outcome of the NBA All-Star Game this past weekend than Chicago Scholars, a NACAC member organization that helps first-generation students navigate the transitions to college, through college, and beyond to a career.
Handpicked by team captain LeBron James, the community-based access organization stood to win up to $500,000 to help students reach their college dreams thanks to the All-Star game’s new format.
The game was broken down with $100,000 on the line every quarter for both Chicago Scholars and the After School Matters foundation, the organization chosen by Team Giannis Antetokounmpo.
An extra $100,000 was given to the first team to tack on 24 points in the final minutes, a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
Chicago Scholars students were given seats at the game and could be seen celebrating and cheering in “Team LeBron” shirts throughout the game.
After the game was won on a free throw from one of Chicago’s own, Anthony Davis, Chicago Scholars walked away with $400,000 for the organization — a huge win on and off the court.
“It felt amazing! Our Scholars are often the first in their families to go to college. This incredible honor means that their hard work has been recognized and that there is a larger community even beyond the Chicago Scholars college counselors, mentors, volunteers, and staff that believes in them and is cheering them on,” said Rachael Accavitti, vice president of programs at Chicago Scholars and the co-leader of NACAC’s Community-Based Organizations Special Interest Group (SIG).
“To have the support of Team LeBron and the NBA shows our Scholars that they can accomplish anything—that they should continue to dream big about their futures and the future of Chicago.”
And Chicago Scholars has big plans for the large donation.
“These funds will help us continue to build our career and leadership development programs to ensure that our Scholars are not only graduating from college, but they are also securing those key internships, developing crucial soft skills, attending workshops and conferences, and growing their networks so that when they graduate, they are ready to step up as leaders in their careers and communities,” Accavitti said.
“We know our Scholars have the talent to become Chicago’s next generation of leaders — this provides more opportunity for them to get there.”
Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.