Aside from being exceptional athletes, the WNBA is full of players who’ve made it their mission to serve as catalysts for change. That’s why the league’s latest partnership should come as no surprise.
On Tuesday, four teams—the New York Liberty, Los Angeles Sparks, Atlanta Dream, and the Indiana Fever—unveiled an unprecedented multi-year partnership with insurance provider Anthem, Inc., to address racial and health inequalities in their respective cities.
In Atlanta, for instance, the Dream will work with Anthem to focus on food insecurity, mental health and health disparities, and social justice initiatives. While in Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Indiana, those efforts will also involve advocacy for women, community engagement, and health and wellness activations that will serve under-resourced communities.
As part of this partnership, WNBA players will also have access to Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, which will equip players with research-based knowledge and skills related to their leadership roles both on and off the court—with a particular focus on racial justice.
“We are excited to build a long-term partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield that will benefit Atlanta and the surrounding communities,” Dream president & general manager Chris Sienko said in a statement provided to The Root. “Their commitment to social justice, and focus on health and wellness are aligned with that of the Dream. Partnerships are collaborative, and this will be a great way to work together to make a difference.”
“The Fever will continue to use our platform and our resources to find innovative and collaborative solutions that make life better for Hoosiers most in need, and this partnership with Anthem and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is a terrific illustration of that,” Fever president Dr. Allison Barber said in a statement provided to The Root. “Chronic racial disparities and issues of equity are challenges that require bold strategy, and the Fever remains committed, alongside one of the nation’s most important companies and the world’s first school of philanthropy, to not only address these gaps today, but to prepare leaders to advocate for justice into the future.”
Anthem has long prided itself on addressing inequities in both health and race, and this partnership sounds like a beautiful union.