BHM celebrates the athletes and African-American youth leaders who are harnessing the power of sport and making a positive change in their communities.
Meet the members of the Future Varsity program – a six-month program created to support leaders in African-American communities using sport to inspire change.
McKinley Nelson founded Project sWish Chicago in Summer 2018, harnessing the power of what happens on the court to change lives off the court. McKinley launched his organization with a charity basketball event at his high school alma mater—and this one-day event raised enough funds to give away 1,300 backpacks with school supplies and sneakers to Chicago youth. Now, McKinley is working to expand the program to a basketball league that plays games around the city during the times that statistically have a high prevalence for violence.
Through all of the challenges that life has thrown at him, McKinley has reliably been able to find refuge in basketball, and he has now devoted his life to creating access to the game for others in his community. “My legacy should be less about who I am and more about what I’ve done, and the lives I’ve saved.”
“If we can get these games going and keep people off the streets, we can save lives.”– McKinley Nelson
Find out more about the other Youth Leaders that are using sport to promote change within their communities.
Future Varsity is a program designed to support, empower and enable youth leaders who are using sport to stand up for values, of equality, diversity and inclusion in their communities. We invite you to submit nominations for the next program.
Log in or create a NikePlus account to nominate a youth leader you know using sport to elevate their community.
Nike is proud to support numerous national and local organizations that provide services to underrepresented youth, including African-American youth, during the year, through mentorship, leadership development, coaching, city league sport programs, and other community initiatives.
The leading national organization in ensuring quality youth mentoring relationships, Nike has supported MENTOR to raise the profile of mentoring and expand into new parts of the U.S., connecting more volunteers to mentoring opportunities in their local communities.
Since 2017, PeacePlayers, with Nike’s support, has established programs in Brooklyn, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles bringing young people together through the power of sport.