Thursday, 23 May 2024

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Finalist: Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris

As an advocate for social justice, Tobias Harris has dedicated his efforts to address the inequities that have historically disadvantaged young individuals of color within the education system.

Through his Tobias Harris Charitable Fund, Harris has granted $300,000 to The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia. This funding aims to support the recruitment of teachers from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and diverse backgrounds, who often face higher student loan burdens upon graduation. Additionally, relocation stipends are provided to assist these teachers in transitioning to the Philadelphia area.

Harris has also created the Tobias’ Top Teachers program, which assists in the recruitment and retention of Black male teachers. Through this initiative, 55 professional development workshops have been funded, and 800 teachers have received necessary classroom supplies.

In order to improve reading scores among students from diverse backgrounds, Harris launched the Lit Labs program. This initiative distributed 30,000 books to 8,000 children in Philadelphia, helping to prevent summer reading gaps. This effort resulted in a 240% average rate gain for 1st and 2nd graders over a four-week period.

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Throughout 2020, Harris utilized his platform as an NBA player to address systemic injustice and racism. He participated in protests against police brutality, advocated for reform while in the NBA Bubble, and shared his reflections on racial injustice in The Players Tribune.

Taking actionable steps towards change, Harris engaged in conversations with his teammates and played a pivotal role in launching the VOTE 76 initiative. This initiative aims to encourage civic engagement and was created to make a difference in the lives of Black youth by offering greater economic opportunities through employment and career advancement.

Harris has chosen the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia as the recipient of his generous donation.

Tobias Harris expressed his gratitude for being selected as a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award and emphasized the importance of education in his philanthropic endeavors. He aims to make a meaningful impact by focusing on the education system in Philadelphia, where he plays and resides.


Q: What is the purpose of the Tobias Harris Charitable Fund?

A: The Tobias Harris Charitable Fund aims to address inequities within the education system, particularly for young individuals of color. It supports initiatives such as the recruitment of teachers from HBCUs and diverse backgrounds, as well as providing relocation stipends.

Q: How does the Tobias’ Top Teachers program assist in improving education?

A: The Tobias’ Top Teachers program helps recruit and retain Black male teachers by funding professional development workshops and supplying necessary classroom materials.

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Q: What is the Lit Labs program initiated by Tobias Harris?

A: The Lit Labs program focuses on improving reading scores among students from diverse backgrounds. It distributes books to children in Philadelphia, aiming to prevent summer reading gaps and enhance literacy rates.


Tobias Harris, a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award, has been an advocate for social justice, particularly in the education sector. Through his charitable fund, Harris has supported initiatives such as recruiting teachers from HBCUs and diverse backgrounds, providing relocation stipends, and addressing reading gaps through the distribution of books. He has also used his platform to speak out against systemic injustice and racism, leading conversations with teammates, launching the VOTE 76 initiative, and advocating for economic opportunities for Black youth. Harris remains committed to making a positive impact in the Philadelphia area, where he resides, by focusing on improving the education system.