In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook discussed his partnership with Chad Brownstein – dubbed the “Westbrook/Brownstein Green Tech Program” at the LA Conservation Corps. Westbrook, a UCLA alumnus and Los Angeles native, has always been passionate about empowering children in underserved communities. To that end, Russell founded the “Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation” in partnership with the LA Promise Fund with the mission of inspiring the lives of children, empower them to ask, “Why Not?” and teach them to never give up. The foundation works to help children that are facing hardships of any kind, and when faced with that adversity, fight to succeed and to never give up.
When asked by the Associated Press why he was focusing on this partnership, and how he saw it fitting into his overall philanthropic works, Russell had this to say:
Chad is a UCLA alum, which is where we created our connection. The biggest thing that I always try to connect with somebody on is: What do they want to do for the underserved communities?
Chad had already done a lot of work in underserved communities. We had conversations on what we can better do to help those communities in Los Angeles. We’ve been able to create different vehicles and partnerships. We just did a partnership with Varo to help in financial literacy and find ways to impact our financial system, which has been plagued over many years, especially for the underserved and people of color. That’s the area I want to tap into with the help of people that have the same goals and visions.
There’s been such a huge disparity in our financial system. In order to close that gap, you have to be able to put systems in place and partner with the right people to help underserved communities. Because that’s who gets hurt the most — especially African American communities. Those are the people that don’t create family wealth or generational wealth.
I want to make sure I have something in place. So I partnered with Varo, because they understand how important it is to serve the underserved and the unbanked. I’m excited about creating a curriculum and strategy. We’re in a process of trying to figure out exactly what that is. But I want to make sure I lead the way.
About Chad Brownstein
Chad Tyler Brownstein (born February 12, 1973) is an American industrialist. He is the founder of Rocky Mountain Resources, a holding company focused on natural resources. He is also the co-founder and former vice chairman of Banc of California, a top 50 rated bank by Forbes magazine. In 2017, Brownstein was a major contributor to the construction of the Mo Austin Basketball Center at UCLA and previously supported the renovation of Pauley Pavilion. Brownstein has been recognized as a leader in assisting under-served, at-risk youth. Of note, Mr. Brownstein’s support has beneficially impacted over one million at risk youth in Southern California.
About Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook III (born November 12, 1988) is a professional NBA player for the Washington Wizards. He is a nine-time NBA All-Star and earned the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2016–17 season. He is also an eight-time All-NBA Team member, led the league in scoring in 2014–15 and 2016–17, and won back-to-back NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player awards in 2015 and 2016. In 2012, he founded the “Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation” with the aim of creating pathways of empowerment for the underserved population. The foundation is committed to the perseverance of at-risk communities by implementing structured educational opportunities, workforce development and accessible mental health resources.