The WNBA, U.S. Bank and Project Destined recently kicked off She’s Invested: Supporting Emerging Female Leaders. The program will provide mentoring and financial education to women of color from HBCUs as well as universities in Southern California. Thirty female students will receive mentoring with a focus on resilience and building a success mindset led by executives and WNBA players. The program runs until the end of regular season, when the participants will attend a Los Angeles Sparks game.
“[U.S. Bank] really wanted to be part of the effort to create access and to have diverse communities receive education and training that allows them to be healthy financially and begin to tackle some of the opportunity gaps…and systemic issues that disproportionately impact women and people of color,” said Bethany Donaphin, head of WNBA League Operations and a former New York Liberty player.
Earlier this year, U.S. Bank was named a WNBA Changemaker, a collective of companies focused on elevating women’s sports and the league’s mission to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. Donaphin spoke about the importance of HBCUs and the impact of those institutions in communities that the league and its players care about.
“It’s about tapping into talent and potential wherever it exists,” said Donaphin. “I look at this as another step toward creating equity and part of the broader fight for social justice that the WNBA has always been about.”
Interested individuals completed an application through Project Destined, a social impact platform that provides training in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and real estate, which included an essay explaining how the program can help them in achieving their goals. WNBA players will be attending some of the training sessions and interacting with the 30 participants. The topic of personal branding will also be discussed.
“Being mentors and speaking about their own experiences around entrepreneurship and financial literacy and career readiness,” said Donaphin. “Economic empowerment is a topic that players want to focus on. Players will be excited to be engaged with this work. … It will be a full curriculum and one that I hope will really benefit the participants.”
In other WNBA news, the Las Vegas Aces continue to sit atop league standings followed by the Connecticut Sun. The New York Liberty has picked up a few wins and lost a close one to the Chicago Sky, defending WNBA Champions. The Liberty takes on the Washington Mystics tonight at Barclays Center.