This past May, retired NBA All-Star Ray Allen and his Ray of Hope Foundation paid it forward in a powerful way in the city where Allen played his final games. As part of an ongoing effort to reduce the digital divide across America, Allen and his foundation presented Lake Stevens Middle School in Miami Gardens, Fla., with 30 Acer Veriton desktop computers and flat-screen monitors.
Investing in technology for underprivileged schools is nothing new for Allen and his foundation though. Since launching the Ray of Hope Foundation Computer Lab Initiative in 2011, the organization has built or refurbished twelve computer labs in public schools around the U.S.
Although the Ray of Hope Foundation was established by Allen back in 1997, the foundation decided to focus on the technology divide more recently as Allen became increasingly disheartened by the number of classrooms that still looked like they did when he was in school.
Allen believes that giving kids modern tools for learning not only keeps America competitive with the rest of the world, but it can also help prevent countless other social ills. Allen states, “So many different issues — homelessness, obesity, etc. — if we put money into our infrastructure and our kids, that will shore up a lot of the problems we get on the back end.”
Other professional athletes have gotten behind the “Tech for Good” movement too, including Houston Rockets star Chris Paul who donated computers to the Boys & Girls Club of Los Angeles in 2016 while playing for the Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Tyus Jones who refurbished a computer lab in Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Allen is also trying to inspire younger players to support technology initiatives like his. He brought along New York Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to the recent computer lab presentation at Lake Stevens Middle School, stating, “I believe things like this create ripples. Anytime you do this, we try to invite as many people as we know along so they can witness it…”
Allen’s days in the NBA may have ceased, but there’s no denying he still got game as a community leader and philanthropist off the court.