Pascal Siakam is giving back to the city by way of sneakers.
The Raptors forward’s non-profit organization, The PS43 Foundation, has partnered with Toronto’s sneaker-based charity, Kickback, to provide funds to support future initiatives in 2022. The donation includes $25,000, as well as 30 pairs of sneakers.
“The Kickback Foundation is incredible for both its local and global outreach,” said Siakam in a statement. “Coming from humble beginnings, where sneakers were scarce to find or have in Africa, I could not be happier to support a cause that exemplifies ambition at a high level and helps make sport, art, and life skills accessible to underserved communities. This allows youth to feel confident; this is what life is about; helping each other in as many ways as possible, especially our youth.”
The PS43 Foundation Canada is a not-for-profit that aims to make a positive impact on the lives of children via education. Through financial literacy, sports, and life skills, it vies to give them a leg up in society. Last year, the foundation launched a program that provided children with new laptops and taught them how to code.
The PS43 Foundation donation to Kickback was initially slated to take place during the holiday season, however the plans were thwarted due to COVID-19 restrictions. The financial contribution was made on Jan. 10 instead. The partnership between both organizations is intended to provide young people with long-term sustainable resources. Siakam’s donation to Kickback will go towards the charity’s future programming, as well as hooking up youth with new sneakers.
Founded by Jamal Burger in 2016 and based in Toronto, Kickback is a youth-led organization that seeks to break barriers for kids via relatable, educational experiences. It began as a shoe drive with a mission to connect adolescents from around the city with new or gently used pairs of streetwear-adjacent sneakers, based on idea that the shoes and stories behind them help promote a positive sense of identity. Since then, the non-profit has collected over 10,000 pairs of shoes, giving out 4,000 to charity while providing over 6,000 pairs of shoes to children around the world. They’ve also found ways to provide workshops and events centered around a younger generation.
“It’s a surreal feeling to experience when one of our city’s greatest heroes recognizes what we’re doing,” says Burger. “Kickback is the community as a whole, and this donation makes it clear that PS43 and Pascal cares about the kids. My optimism is on high when thinking about the future knowing that our kids’ favourite player will play a huge part in our impact.”