Washington Wizards’ star Russell Westbrook has announced a notable feat to form a new middle school and high school in his Los Angeles hometown to empower tomorrow’s leaders, PEOPLE shares.
The former MVP has reportedly teamed up with the L.A. Promise Fund to open the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy in an effort to “create better access to educational and outdoor opportunities for children and the community at large in South L.A.,” Westbrook told PEOPLE.
According to PEOPLE, the work Westbrook has done through his Why Not? Foundation has helped him acknowledge how neglected schools in underserved communities are when it comes to resources and funding to support students.
“I not only want to inspire and empower these students but I want to help provide the essential and necessary resources to set them up for success beyond the classroom,” he shares with the outlet.
I am excited to announce my @WhyNotFdn is partnering with @LAPromiseFund to launch the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy. Creating & supporting educational opportunities for underserved youth has always been my passion & now it is coming to life…this is just the beginning pic.twitter.com/w5ERsDqbSW
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) February 24, 2021
The overall goal for the new schools is to provide increased access to high-quality athletic programs, better education, and leadership development for South L.A. students, according to a press release shared with PEOPLE.
“The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy will deliver world-class education to South Los Angeles youth grades 6 through 12,” the release states, “to develop academic achievers, athletes and active citizens committed to social change.”
Westbrook, his wife Nina and longtime business partner Donnell Beverly will all sit on the school board to help oversee developments for this new project.
“Creating and supporting educational opportunities for underserved youth has always been a passion of mine,” Westbrook shared in a press release. “It’s so important that every child has access to a good education regardless of their socioeconomic background. My goal in partnering with the LA Promise Fund is to ensure our South L.A. students are ready for college and, ultimately, success in a 21st-century career.”
Veronica Melvin — president of L.A. Promise Fund — shared with PEOPLE how proud her organization is to partner with Westbrook to help open up these schools.
“We all know Russell Westbrook’s accomplishments on the court,” she said. “His pledge to the LA Promise Fund Schools and the South L.A. community demonstrates his deep commitment off the court to uplift the community and positively change lives.”
Westbrook is now following in the footsteps of other athletes like future Hall-of-Famer LeBron James who opened up his I Promise School in Akron, Ohio back in 2018, in partnership with Akron Public Schools.
According to Sports Illustrated, the location and opening date of the Why Not? Academy has yet to be announced.
More details on the new schools to come.