NBA Foundation Awards Marcus Graham Project Inaugural Grant

By Erik Oster 

The NBA Foundation awarded the Marcus Graham Project a grant to expand mentorship and professional development opportunities for talent of color in the advertising, media and sports marketing industries, as one of seven organizations awarded the foundation’s inaugural grants.

“The advertising, media and marketing industry will not reflect the rich racial diversity found in the U.S. until the year 2079, at the current rate of hiring, retention, and promotion. Minority voices are often the drivers of culture, and we desperately need them in rooms where decisions are made,” Marcus Graham Project co-founder Larry Yarrell said in a statement. “These funds will give us the opportunity to further invest in developing the next generation of leaders and we hope that the companies and organizations that have made commitments to advancing economic justice and equality for Black Americans will join us in expanding our efforts.”

Founded in 2005, the Marcus Graham Foundation is a national organization focusing on developing the next generation of diverse leaders in the advertising, media and marketing industries with training, mentorship and professional development programs which have impacted over 2,500 members and alumni globally. The first of what will be a $5 million commitment from the NBA Foundation to fuel the organization’s expansion across North America will help the Marcus Graham Foundation impact over 1,500 additional aspiring professionals in the advertising, media and marketing industries through programs such as its ICR8 Boot Camp and iCR8 Workshop, according to a statement.


“My first experience with Marcus Graham Project came in the form of the SportsMarketing Workshop hosted in Cleveland with the Cavaliers,” Washington Wizards manager, social influence and Marcus Graham Project alumni Saxx Booker said in a statement. “I can honestly say the MGP iCR8 Programs (workshop andboot camp) have allowed me to gain experience and build a network that hasopened doors and shaped the trajectory of my career.”