According to the NBA, the Ressler Gertz Family Foundation and the Atlanta Hawks have teamed up to invest $40 million in Atlanta. To commemorate five years of ownership, the Ressler Gertz Family Foundation made a $5 million commitment to support growth for the nation’s largest hub for Black entrepreneurs — The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE).

Hawks Principal Owners Jami Gertz and Tony Ressler announced their partnership with the Atlanta Hawks for a comprehensive plan to provide educational resources, marketing, and financial resources to Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

Additionally, the franchise has announced plans to increase investment in its award-winning Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility/Community Development departments, per the NBA.

Along with increased exposure, access, and opportunity, this gift will also help in the expansion of future RCIE programming. The initiative will also increase the organization’s ability to provide Black entrepreneurs access to capital, corporate partners, and utilization of all Hawks marketing channels.

Founded in 2019 — by the iconic Russell Family — which includes the largest minority-owned real estate and construction company in the U.S., H.J. Russell & Co., and  the largest Black-owned airport concessions company in the U.S., Concessions International LLC, RCIE will offer small businesses and entrepreneurs networking, mentoring, educational and capital resources. Senior-level Hawks executives will also provide regular mentorship and education to those entrepreneurs within the RCIE programs.

“Located in the heart of Atlanta and founded by one of Atlanta’s most successful, entrepreneurial families, RCIE is one of the most innovative organizations that is providing real solutions for Atlanta’s Black community and contributing directly to the growth of Black businesses, jobs, and wealth,” said Mr. Ressler in a statement. “Systemic barriers have prevented the Black community from pursuing the educational, employment, and business opportunities necessary to fully contribute to and benefit from our growing local economy.”

In partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), as an effort to support greater economic empowerment in the Black community, the Hawks foundation also made a pledge of $10 million to the new NBA Foundation.