NEW YORK – Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever is the recipient of the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award in recognition of her exceptional work in the community in 2015, the league announced today. This marks the second Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for Catchings, who is playing in her final season, after receiving the inaugural award in 2007. The award recognizes a player who is an inspiration in her community and reflects Staley’s leadership, spirit, charitable efforts and love for the game.
“From her rookie year to her final season, Tamika has been a true leader on and off the court,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders. “Tamika’s passion for the game and her dedication to the community has inspired Fever fans across Indiana and WNBA fans around the world. It’s fitting that she’s closing out her career with this iconic recognition.”
Catchings participated and spoke at over 20 events throughout the 2015 season, including several Fever events such as the MVP TipOff Party and the Indiana Fever’s Choices for Champions program, which encourages young people to be champions in their education, health and fitness, while helping to stop bullying in the community. Catchings also participated in a Fever Bowling Tournament to raise money for the Fever’s BeYOUnique Fund of the Pacers Foundation Inc, which promotes a strong self-image and encourages the development of valuable life skills among young women.
In addition to supporting team initiatives, her Catch the Stars Foundation has become an important presence in the community throughout the year. Catch the Stars’ goal is to empower youth to achieve their dreams through programs that promote literacy, fitness and mentoring. During her Catch the Stars back to school celebration, Catchings provided free backpacks and school supplies to more than 600 students in need. She also hosted her annual Catch on to Fitness Clinic and annual Tamika Catchings holiday basketball camp, in which youth are inspired to get active and parents receive tips on how to encourage a healthy lifestyle for their children. Catchings also found time during the Women’s NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, to host a tournament for high school girls.
In her 16th and final season in the league, Catchings continues to give back to the community while inspiring and encouraging the next generation of WNBA players. In appreciation for the support she has received from fans across the country, Catchings created a Legacy Tour to give fans in each WNBA city the opportunity to meet her and come to a postgame event. Each WNBA team will also receive a grant from the Catch the Stars Foundation to benefit the community.
“How fitting that we again honor Tamika Catchings with this award in her final season in the WNBA,” said WNBA Legend and University of South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley. “Her dedication to her community has been just as strong as her commitment to the game of basketball, and countless young people are better off because of both. The beauty of Tamika is that the end of her basketball career only means more time for her to continue her outstanding work in the community. For that, she will continue to be an inspiration to me and so many others.”
“It’s important for me to give back to the community because there are so many kids that aspire to be where we are,” said Catchings. “Our mission with Catch the Stars Foundation is to prepare our youth to catch their dreams one star at a time, and I’m fully engaged in helping to open up doors for all of our youth and anyone that I come in contact with.”
The Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award is presented annually. A designated committee selected Catchings as the winner from a group of nominated WNBA players. The WNBA will make a $10,000 donation to Catch the Stars Foundation on behalf of Catchings.
About the WNBA
The WNBA, which features 12 teams, is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. The league, which counts Verizon as its leaguewide marquee partner, began its 20th season on May 14, 2016.
Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.