This past June, Maya Moore and her Minnesota Lynx teammates and coaches traveled to Washington D.C. a day early for their matchup against the Mystics. Absent an invitation from the White House for their 2017 WNBA Championship victory, Moore and her fellow team captains decided to host a day of service instead.
In partnership with nonprofit organization Samaritan’s Feet, the Lynx spent the day in Washington distributing socks and sneakers to over 300 youth from Payne Elementary School, a school where a staggering 30 percent of students are homeless and the entire student body comes from low-income households.
The event concluded with a ceremony celebrating the importance of community service. The ceremony featured speeches from Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith as well as Lynx players. A tradition commonly performed by winning teams at the White House, the Lynx gifted the senators with signed jerseys to thank them for their support.
A four-time WNBA champion, Moore cherishes her previous visits to the White House. Nevertheless, she and her teammates were grateful to celebrate their 2017 championship in a different way. In comparing the experiences, Moore stated, "This will probably be more unique. We made some great memories with these kids. We'll definitely remember this."
Moore’s involvement with philanthropy extends far beyond one time community service days though. Moore is also a passionate advocate for criminal justice reform. Last year, she wrote an op-ed published in USA Today with two public servants who also want to see change in the justice system — Mark Dupree, a district attorney in Kansas, and Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor.
In their piece, they called for an end to mass incarceration by changing the numbers-driven culture in the justice system and by prioritizing treatment over jail time for those afflicted with mental issues and drug addiction. They also called for bail reform and reduction of mandatory minimum sentences for low-level offenses.
In November 2017, Moore was also featured in “First Step,” a video series hosted by former NBA All-Star and current Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach, Jerry Stackhouse. During the episode, she discusses her justice system reform advocacy and the personal connections that have made her so passionate about the issue.
A devout Christian, Moore has also been involved with several faith-based organizations since her days at UConn, including Athletes in Action and Ultimate Training Camp. Moore is also a partner of the United Way, and she is a proud supporter of the End It Movement which seeks to bring awareness to sex trafficking and other forms of modern day slavery around the world.
With pages upon pages of accolades already in her young life, Moore could easily shield herself from many of the world’s troubles. Instead, she is using her platform to take them head on. Moore is truly much more than an athlete.