SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs Give Together Fund has raised $700,000 to go toward COVID-19 relief in San Antonio, Spurs Give executive director Jennifer Regnier said Thursday during a Zoom conference with local media.
Spurs legend David Robinson and his oldest of three sons, David Jr., who serves as a Spurs Give board member, also participated in the Zoom call. David Sr. praised San Antonio’s response in helping people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Spurs announced two weeks ago the formation of the Spurs Give Together Fund to support first responders, “inspire local commerce and provide for families directly impacted by COVID-19 through local nonprofits,” according to a Spurs news release.
Spurs Give, the official nonprofit of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, has donated $500,000 to the fund. Frost Bank, the Charles Butt Foundation, NuStar Energy, the Greehey Family Foundation, Red McCombs Automotive, the CE Group and the 80/20 Foundation have pledged contributions.
The nonprofit is committed to helping raise more than $1 million for the Spurs Give Together Fund.
David Robinson Sr., who has a well-earned reputation as a philanthropist, lauded San Antonio for its relief efforts.
“I think we’ve done a very good job here,” Robinson said. “I see the mayor has been very active, the governor has been very active. I see, in general, the generosity here is phenomenal. Having an organization like the Spurs obviously means a great deal.
“For the Spurs to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be the first ones, we’ll put that money in there. We’ll continue to pay our workers at the arena (AT&T Center).’ Having a leader like that makes a huge difference. I think this community takes a lot of its identity from the Spurs, really."
R.C. Buford, chief executive officer of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, said recently that the Spurs have continued paying hourly employees who work during Spurs games.
The Silver and Black haven't played a game since March 10, when they beat the Dallas Mavericks at the AT&T Center. NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the season the next day after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
David Robinson Sr., who retired after the Spurs won their second NBA title in 2003, has a long history of giving back to the community.
“I think we have responded as well as any city that I’ve been in, and I’ve seen quite a few of the cities,” Robinson said. “We were up in North Carolina with my son right before the NCAA Tournament was going to start. We were up in New York a little bit.
"This community is unique. It’s unique for a lot of reasons. It’s much more of a family-feel community than any that I’ve ever been in, and I think we’ve responded like a family.”
David Robinson Jr., who graduated from the University of Texas, moved to New York City in 2015 but lives in San Antonio now.
Robinson Jr. praised the Spurs for establishing the Spurs Give Together Fund.
“I think the Spurs are in a unique place to really bring people together,” he said. “They call this fund the Together Fund. They’re pledging the first $500,000, and really want to raise around that and do things as a community. They’re doing a lot of good work, whether it be working with the Food Bank, working with the Family Violence Prevention Center, local restaurants.
“Just trying to shine a little bit of light during these crazy times. It is only one step, one part of it, but I think a lot of it is just setting some kind of example for bringing people together and telling people they’re not alone.”
Here's more about the impact of the Spurs Give Together Fund:
• Currently serving 500 meals a day from local restaurants to first responders (15,000 meals in 5 weeks)
• Starting a partnership with the Food Bank to serve 25,000 families with food from local restaurants delivered to their doors Mon-Friday for 5 weeks
• Closing the tech divide by providing 800 families with free WiFi and hot spots for the entire year
• Providing $150,000 in childcare scholarships for families in need (as city opens back up)
• Addressing the 30% rise in abuse and neglect with grant support to Family Violence Prevention Center and others
Regnier praised David Robinson Sr. and his family for the community outreach that is part of their legacy.
"I can't think of any better family in the city of San Antonio to have represent Giving Back and philanthropy in our community," Regnier said. "David Jr., himself, is doing so much in our community.
"When he came to us and talked about how he wanted to kind of follow in his father's footsteps and be part of the Spurs organization and be on the board, we were thrilled. David Jr. actually had a large voice on what areas we put together on this fund."
Here's more from Thursday afternoon's Zoom call: