Pelicans star guard Jrue Holiday and his wife, former U.S. women’s soccer standout Lauren Holiday, announced on Wednesday that they will be donating the remainder of his NBA salary for the season to multiple charities and Black-owned businesses across the country.
Holiday can earn as much as $5.3 million by finishing the season in the midst of a pandemic as he plays in the league’s makeshift “bubble” down in Orlando. In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Jrue spoke about the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund, which will help assist communities of color in some of the country’s major cities, while also supporting historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“We really feel like me pledging my salary could really benefit the Black communities,” said Jrue Holiday. “In LA, in New Orleans and in Indiana we have ties there so we believe this is the perfect time to do that.”
“Coming back with everything happening, I needed an extra push and trying to figure out things with other teammates and other people in the league. My wife just one night was just like I really feel like you should pledge the rest of your salary.”
According to ESPN, up to $4 million will be dedicated to nonprofits, Black-owned businesses, and citywide initiatives that benefit Black and Brown areas around Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Indianapolis. Additionally, another $1 million will help Black business owners in 10 other U.S. cities. The Holidays have also decided to designate $500,000 to HBCUs.
The hoopster told Nichols that he has already been talking to HBCUs in New Orleans about how to best assist their efforts to educate minority communities.
“I’ve been so blessed to make this money and to play basketball and still have a job but there’s people out there that still need support and support from us.”
The Holidays are no strangers to hard times. In 2016, when Lauren was pregnant with their daughter Jrue Tyler, doctors found a non-cancerous brain tumor in Lauren’s skull, forcing her to give birth five weeks early. Lauren had to have a 10-hour brain surgery just four weeks after giving birth.
During that time Jrue stepped away from the game of basketball to help care for his family.
Now, Lauren, the two-time Olympic Gold medalist and FIFA World Cup Champion, and Jrue, a former All-Star and first-team all-defensive player, are making a difference in communities that are going through difficult times.
“I just feel like it’s the perfect opportunity to pick those three cities that mean a lot to us and try to better those cities,” said Holiday.