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Sixers make historic donation to Camden police

Youth participants play basketball at the Camden County Police Department’s Village Initiative event, a beneficiary of the 76ers’ donation.

In a groundbreaking move, the Philadelphia 76ers have announced a donation of $120,000 to the Camden County Police Department.

The Sixers Youth Foundation contribution to the Camden City force marks the largest private donation ever received by the police department and is designated to bolster youth fitness initiatives across the ccity.

The announcement took place on March 19 at Camden’s Kroc Center. Among attendees were County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr.; Congressman Donald Norcross; Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen; Leslie Walker, executive director of the foundation; former Camden Mayor Dana Redd, who is president and CEO of Camden Community Partnership; county Police Chief Gabriel Rodriguez; and Salvation Army Major Richard Sanchez.

A number of young people were also on hand for the announcement. The Sixers’ donation is expected to both enhance and expand programs under the police department’s Village Initiative, with a particular focus on initiatives like open gym and resource nights.

Rodriguez expressed his gratitude for the transformative impact of the donation, which he noted will be used to fund the initiative’s community engagement and provide safe spaces for youth activities.

“This donation is a game changer for the department and will allow us to continue showing up for our community,” he explained. “With this money, we can continue to host events that give children and teenagers safe places to spend time and families to connect with needed services. These funds will also help support the department’s various other youth-centered initiatives around the city.”

The county police department’s programming also includes the Hoop it Up program, weekly Bookmates sessions, dodgeball tournaments, flag football leagues, movie nights, block party barbecues and meet-the-officer events. Its mentorship programs in the school district and adoption of families throughout the city underscore the department’s holistic approach to community outreach, according to Rodriguez.

Cappelli commended the 76ers for their significant contribution, highlighting the importance of ongoing collaboration to support Camden’s youth.

“This investment by the Sixers underscores the importance of the work we do with our residents on a daily basis, with a focus on our youth in Camden,” he pointed out. “I want to thank them for walking the walk and being an important part of our village here in Camden County.”

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