It may be early in the NBA season, but it seems clear that our beloved Bulls are in the midst of a rebuilding year. Most of our favorite players are gone, and they’ve been replaced by untested youngsters. That’s cool though; while things on the court may be in flux, one thing that hasn’t changed is the Bulls commitment to their player-led charity campaign.
Chicago Bulls Charities (formerly the much catchier CharitaBulls) has a three-pronged approach to doing good in the Chicago area that extends through the basketball season and beyond. The focal points for the program are health and wellness, youth education, and violence prevention, but within these categories, they let the players themselves guide the fundraising efforts. This allows the players to build their own signature events, like the annual ping pong tournament where players and coaches alike come out to play with donors and fans.
Though Jabari Parker might be a new face in a Bulls uniform, he isn’t new to working with kids in the area. Parker grew up here, and his father Sonny, himself an NBA star, returned to the South Side after his career. Jabari has worked with his charities here every off-season since turning pro in 2014. Now that he’s taken up residence in Chicago full-time, Parker plans to ramp up his programs on the South Side, continuing his popular basketball camp, as well as partnering with programs that help keep Chicago’s at-risk youth off the streets and away from drugs. If you haven’t gotten the chance to read Parker’s amazing essay in the Player’s Tribune, check it out here.
You don’t need to play ping pong or buy tickets to the annual gala to support the team’s charitable foundation though. You can get involved at the arena, where 50/50 raffles and silent auctions are a part of every home game. And that’s the beauty of a foundation like the Chicago Bulls Charities. Player and team engagement with the community are at the core of everything that they do.