INDIANAPOLIS — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video, from July 2020, is about the Indiana Fever dedicating its season to social justice.
The Indiana Fever and Anthem, Inc. announced Tuesday they've entered a multi-year partnership that will focus on social injustice, promoting health and well-being in communities in need, and empowering athletes to become advocates for change.
As part of the partnership, the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI developed a professional certificate program called "Athlete to Advocate."
The program will give professional athletes the opportunity to learn ways to be effective change advocates in their communities. The program will teach participating athletes how to identify and raise social awareness for causes they support, advance solutions to social issues, and how to use their platform to develop their philanthropic activities.
"Women professional athletes have long been leaders at the intersection of philanthropy, sports and social justice. We are excited to pilot this important work with Anthem and the Fever to help athletes make a positive impact in the community, the nation and the world," said Dr. Amir Pasic, Dean, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. "The Athlete to Advocate program is part of our school's ongoing commitment to collaborating with our partners in Central Indiana and around the world to support those who are working to achieve lasting change and make the world more just."
Fever athletes and front office staff — including Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Tamika Catchings — will participate in the first cohort of the five-week course. The goal is to extend the program to other WNBA teams and professional athletes in late 2021.
"As part of Anthem's commitment to being both a national and local leader, we are working in solidarity with our communities to challenge the status quo and address the factors driving disparities and inequities in our healthcare system and in society as a whole," said Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO of Anthem, Inc. "This partnership with the Indiana Fever and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, focused on addressing social justice, is just one more example of bringing our commitment to life."
Anthem also made similar partnerships with the New York Liberty, the Los Angeles Sparks, and the Atlanta Dream. Whenever the four teams meet during the season, they'll organize joint community service activities to address food insecurity, mental health and other racial and health inequities.