As the NBA ground to a halt just over a week ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dallas Mavericks and owner Mark Cuban knew they needed to be vigilant. They weren’t just concerned about the players, but they looked at the bigger picture, acknowledging that the coming weeks and months will be tough for everyone. Moments after the league announced that it was suspending its season, Cuban laid out a plan to help those in need. He and the organization have since been at the forefront of charitable action.
The latest efforts come as the public hunkers down at home. The stress on retailers—such as grocery stores—appears on the news and social media. Empty shelves are the new dead malls. What many don’t see is how this impacts nonprofit organizations who are helping the most vulnerable get the food and basic supplies that they need. The Mavericks and Mavs Foundation stepped in to help.
They’re donating $100,000 to North Texas nonprofits to help them help those in need during these trying times. Cuban tweeted that the Mavs will do this monthly until the team starts playing games again. Maxi Kleber helped to kick off the effort by donating $20,000 to CitySquare, which is offering Dallas ISD students a third daily meal. DISD is currently distributing several days worth of meals to students from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. at all secondary schools Monday and Thursday. The Mavericks are also donating $10,000 in Kroger gift cards to DISD families in need of food.
“Local nonprofits are more vulnerable to feel an immediate decrease in funding and volunteers so it’s our goal to provide help however we can,” said Katie Edwards, vice president of Community Relations and president of Mavs Foundation, in a statement.
And this morning, the Mavericks announced that Mark Cuban, Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell would team up to donate $500,000 through the Mavs Foundation to local hospitals to help with child care for healthcare workers. “We are extremely grateful for the amazing bravery shown by our health professionals during this difficult time,” said Powell via press release. “We feel it’s our duty to do whatever we can to support their efforts. We continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene, while hoping this fund helps prevent families from further hardship as a result of their sacrifice.”
Other area nonprofits receiving assistance from the Mavericks and Mavs Foundation are the North Texas Food Bank, VNA Texas Meals on Wheels, Minnie’s Food Pantry, Community Food Bank of Fort Worth, Hunger Busters, Senior Source, Hope Supply Co. and Communities Foundation of Texas and North Texas Community Response Fund.
“There are so many people who need help right now. We want to do our part to get them the support they need,” said Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, in a statement. “Whether it’s by giving time or helping with funds we are ready to make a difference in the lives of our fellow community members. We’re all in this together!”
The Mavericks are also teaming with the Mayor’s office in to get the word out on any updates and public service announcements that the public needs know.
“I’m eager to join with Mayor Johnson to get the word out about the ‘Do The Five’ initiative,” said Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson. “At a time like this, we all need to work together to educate one another about best practices that will help limit the spread of COVID-19.”
As the NBA shut down, Cuban’s initial concern was for the hourly employees who work at the American Airlines Center during Mavericks games. Without the Mavericks playing, they would be out of work and potentially without the ability to pay their bills. The Mavs, AAC management, Chime, and Cuban put a plan in place to help these workers. They will receive their pay for the six home games that they would have otherwise worked during the NBA’s initial 30-day hiatus period.
It’s not just arena employees that the team is concerned about. Just a few days after that announcement, Cuban took to Twitter extolling an idea he saw there. Another company was reimbursing its employees for buying breakfast and lunch at local establishments to help stem the financial struggles brought on by social distancing and gathering regulations in the wake of the spread of coronavirus. Within minutes of advocating for something similar for employees of the Mavericks and his other companies, Cuban announced that he would be doing the same.
“At a time when people may feel the financial strain of business closures, social distancing and more, supporting our local community is even more important,” Cuban said. “While encouraging my team to take care of themselves and those around them and to use healthy practices, I also encourage them to support our local North Texas businesses, and I am happy to partner with Dallas Mavericks staff to do so.”
In Dallas, Mayor Eric Johnson declared on Monday that all bars, entertainment venues, and gyms were to remain closed until further notice. Restaurants can stay open; however, they must switch their services over to allow for only take-out, drive-thru, or delivery. Dining-in is prohibited in the city. Wednesday, the Dallas City Council set a firm date of April 29 before it will reassess the current guidelines.
We won’t know the full scope of this crisis for at least a couple more weeks. In Dallas County, at the time of this writing, there are 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Texas has a total of 140 confirmed cases. State and local officials expect those number to grow daily. As the city, businesses, and our way of life change, it’s good to see the Mavericks doing what they can to help a large part of the local community who are all dealing with the pandemic.