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Hoops to End Homelessness benefits StreetWise

Fri, Apr 20, 2012

This year’s 3rd annual Hoops To End Homelessness benefit for StreetWise held on March 3 was no less than a slam-dunk for the organization. A little over $20,000 was raised thanks to the gen- erosity of participants and donors.

Participants were invited to play basketball with public officials, community leaders, and athletes in this tournament for a good cause. Five teams were created, which included Best Buy, ComEd, Ad- ministrative Resource Options, Barnes & Thornburg and another team composed of board members of StreetWise and their friends. Each team offered a sponsorship donation of $1,500 in order to play, but many teams well rose above the minimum donation.

“Most teams had seven players, so we had about 60 participants on the court. We always ran two games at a time and every team got to play at least four games. By the end of the day, the pace had definitely slowed down,” said Nicole Janes-Crawford, a government affairs specialist with Barnes & Thornburg who also took the lead in helping to plan the event.

Richard Boykin, StreetWise board member and also a partner for Barnes & Thornburg law firm, started the event in 2010.
Sponsors of this year’s event included: Administrative Resource Options, ComeEd, Barnes & Thornburg, Best Buy, Crown Imports, Omar, Inc., Chicago Family Health Centers, Northstar Lottery Group and several board members and in- dependent StreetWise supporters.

Past participants have included U.S. Rep Danny K. Davis, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and also Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
At the end of the tournament, it boiled down to a battle between Com Ed and Boykin’s team, Barnes & Thornburg. “Although we fought a good fight, Com Ed won. They won six points ahead, but we led the game three quarters of the way through, so it was definitely a comeback,” Boykin explained.

Boykin’s 5-year-old son, Elijah, also came out to support StreetWise and his dad. “You know what he told me after the game? He said, ‘Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be like you, a basketball star.’ So I said to myself, ‘Self… you’re not a basketball star. You’re a lawyer!’” joked Boykin.

Next year, Boykin has plans to dream even bigger. “It’s become a part of StreetWise’s budgeting, so next year [the board may say], ‘Can you raise $25,000 or $30,000?’ Every year, we’ve been going up. So we’ll have even more teams and more sponsors come next year.”

“This is all about just giving back,” said Janes-Crawford. “I think we’ve all taken a little bit of a hit over the last two years with the economy the way it is and I’m fortunate that I have a job and that I’m able to have a great family and friends. So this is just about making sure that we can help out where we can.”

And on top of being able to give back while making baskets, participants were able to experience the game in one of the historical locations in basketball. “When you think about playing at the Berto Center, the place where Michael Jordan practiced, the place where Scottie Pippen practiced, and the place where [Derrick] Rose the MVP practices… It’s incredible,” Boykin said.

Boykin explains that his motivation for planning a fundraising event based on basketball stems from the clear ties that the
game has with life in general. “Let me just say that athletics helps one to really understand life… If you miss a basket on the basketball court, you have a choice. Come out of the game and sit out or fire the ball back up again and try to hit the basket,” Boykin said. “It’s the same in life… we’re all going to get knocked down sometimes. But we have a choice. Do we stay down or do we get back up? It’s the same with all of our vendors. Somebody comes along and you may not get a sale, but you have a choice. Get up and go home or stick to it and persevere. So I think athletics teaches a lot and I think it’s fun. But more importantly, you’re doing it for a great cause.”

Written by Brittany Langmeyer
StreetWise Staff

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