SPARTANBURG – The third annual Ball4Good Celebrity Games will be held Sunday, April 28, 2019, from 3:00-5:00pm at Spartanburg Day School. This event will feature Spartanburg celebrities playing in action-packed basketball games to raise money for local nonprofits. Along with the Spartanburg celebrities, former Michigan State University player and the first athlete with autism to play Big 10 basketball, Anthony Ianni, will be on the roster.
“Having Anthony here in Spartanburg and playing in the Ball4Good Celebrity Games is an incredible opportunity for people to learn more about autism and the effects of bullying in school,” says Adom Appiah, founder of Ball4Good and ninth-grader at Spartanburg Day School.
Ianni’s involvement in the Celebrity Games is not by accident. The event’s proceeds will support Project HOPE Foundation, an organization that serves families and individuals with autism in Spartanburg County and across the Upstate. Ianni now travels the country speaking to student groups about bullying and overcoming autism.
“Anthony’s mission aligns perfectly with Project HOPE Foundation, and we are happy to support our local autism community through this organization,” Appiah continues.
Founded in 1997 by moms looking for services for their young sons with autism, Project HOPE Foundation offers programs that benefit not only the child affected with autism but also the entire family, all of whom are forever changed by this diagnosis. Project HOPE Foundation provides a lifespan of services for the autism community, through programs that Help families, Open minds, Promote inclusion and Expand potential. The organization provides individualized services to a broad range of people across ages, across the spectrum of autism, and across programs (ABA therapy, classroom options, adult employment, social groups, life skills, community outreach, and professional trainings).
“We are honored and grateful to be this year’s Ball4Good grant recipient,” said Lisa Lane, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Project HOPE Foundation. “This gift will help us grow Printed by HOPE, the t-shirt printing business we’ve started to help our young adults gain valuable job skills.”
In addition to granting to Project HOPE, Ball4Good will recognize three additional nonprofits during this year’s Celebrity Games: Sidewalk Hope, Citizen Scholars Institute, and Brothers Restoring Urban Hope (BRUH Mentor).
Nine student representatives from across Spartanburg County coordinated the grants selection process. Several students and adult volunteers are part of the event planning team.
“It is so inspiring that Ball4Good has raised so much money and awareness by connecting people’s love for sports with the needs in our community. Being able to be a part of this process and choose a foundation in need of the grant has been truly amazing,” says Liza Webster, a middle school representative on the Ball4Good Grants Committee.
“Working with Ball4Good provided a great opportunity to learn about various organizations in our community that serve children and how philanthropy can help in those efforts,” says Maxwell Booker, a 9th grade student at Spartanburg High School and Ball4Good Grants Committee member.
Spartanburg High School 10th grader and Ball4Good committee member Will Beeson adds, “I’ve been lucky to be a part of Ball4Good and I am excited to see what good the organization will continue to do for our community.”
The Ball4Good Celebrity Games is a collaboration between Ball4Good, Southeastern Paper, The Spartanburg County Foundation, City of Spartanburg, Spartanburg schools, and several community leaders. Tickets to the Celebrity Basketball Games are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ball4good.org.
Founded by Adom Appiah, Ball4Good is a 501(c)(3) organization supporting the community and other nonprofits through sports. Ball4Good began as a school project during the fall of 2016. Mrs. Kelsea Turner of Spartanburg Day School inspired her students to dedicate 20% of history period to a service project. Mrs. Turner called the project 20Time. Ball4Good is a result of Adom’s 7th grade 20Time project.