It’s no secret Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry is a basketball genius and a family man. If you’ve followed Curry throughout his illustrious NBA career, you’ve seen the viral moments of his daughter Riley absolutely crushing the postgame press conference in 2015 or his wife Ayesha’s New York Times Best-Selling books.
In 2019, the basketball power couple decided they wanted to keep spreading the goodness. They started a nonprofit called Eat. Learn. Play. and it’s already made a pretty big impact on kids’ lives in the cities it serves.
Eat. Learn. Play. operates in two cities: Oakland, CA, and Columbus, OH. The foundation ensures kids have access to healthy meals, education, and youth sports involvement.
Just glancing at the company website, you can find some admirable statistics: more than $47 million raised for Oakland kids and families, over 25 million meals delivered, over $6 million invested in literacy programs, and revitalizing 11 community schools and playgrounds.
Oakland was the first city the basketball family worked with. Since Steph is a member of the Golden State Warriors, who used to play in Oracle Arena in the city before moving to Chase Center in San Francisco, the Currys wanted to give back to the community that embraced them when he was drafted by the Warriors in 2009. He and the team have won four NBA championships since 2015.
“When we launched Eat. Learn. Play. in 2019, we saw the tremendous need that existed in our adopted hometown of Oakland and set out to use our platform and resources to work to unlock the full potential of the kids in our community,” the couple said in a September news release.
The Oakland school district has gotten a boost thanks to Eat. Learn. Play. The foundation has been investing in the school meal program to feed kids who rely on the school for at least two meals. These investments will occur over the next three years to ensure at least 6 million homemade healthy meals are readily available. That covers around 35,000 students across 85 schools.
During the pandemic, literacy rates in communities of color and LatinX people dropped by 15.4% and 12.5% in Oakland. To promote literacy, Eat. Learn. Play. has partnered with the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and Oakland Literacy Coalition to set up tutoring programs and Little Town Libraries, a neighborhood book-sharing campaign.
The organization set up 150 of the stick libraries across the Oakland area. The goal is to increase literacy amongst Oakland youth and encourage more reading. Companies like Workday, Rakuten, and Kaiser Permanente sponsored the campaign.
Photo Courtesy Eat. Learn. Play.
Eat. Learn. Play. began its work in Columbus, OH, in May 2022. The news was announced at the Workday Memorial Golf Tournament. Workday, the staffing services firm, is known for its charity work with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The company is a supportive partner of the Currys’ foundation.
Donations were made to the Linden Fresh Market, a free food distributor in central Ohio. Next, Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) and Reach Out and Read (ROR) worked with Eat. Learn. Play. to increase school readiness and reading levels in toddlers before kindergarten.
To encourage more activity participation, the foundation is working with Play Strong, a program that works with kids to develop healthy habits.
“Looking in our kids’ eyes and reading the statistics of what is going on in the community and thinking no parent wants to put their child in a negative position and no parent should have to experience that,” Ayesha told “The Columbus Dispatch.”
Eat. Learn. Play. sponsored the 2022 California Coast 500 along with outdoor retailer REI. Californians were challenged to walk, bike, run, or hike at least 500 miles up Highway 1 from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Turf fields and updated playground equipment will also be added across Oakland schools. The hope is this will increase recreational sports and activities in kids. Building healthy habits early on will give students a better mindset heading into adulthood.
Photo Courtesy Eat. Learn. Play.
The foundation also helps out Oakland’s teachers. Partnering with online skill-learning service MasterClass, 16,000 Oakland and San Francisco school workers gained access to free courses. The first partnership happened in 2022, with 5,000 free memberships provided.
The Currys are creating a more holistic experience for the Bay Area and Columbus’s youth. Eat. Learn. Play. is still in its infancy, yet it has already touched the lives of so many. Steph will continue pursuing success on the court, Ayesha will continue to be one of the NBA’s most lovable moms, and the two are using their platform to help others.