ATLANTA – The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club was presented with the Best Diversity Campaign or Initiative Award during the 3rd Annual Cynopsis Social Good Awards in New York on March 2, 2017 for their “Unity Weekend” initiative held during the 2016-17 season. The award recognizes an agency, network, brand, or corporation’s commitment to racial, ethnic, religious and gender diversity.
During the weekend of events which ran from Oct. 7 through Oct. 10, Hawks employees volunteered more than 1,000 hours of service to local community non-profits and were the only Atlanta professional sports team with a dedicated float in the city’s PRIDE Parade. The all-staff service day included six service projects with Atlanta Community Food Bank Community Gardens, CHRIS 180, Covenant House, Fountain of Hope, MedShare, and United Methodist Children’s Home. Over 100 Hawks staffers and friends rode on and marched with a custom-made PRIDE float and distributed UNITY-branded mini-basketballs and game ticket vouchers during the 46th Atlanta PRIDE Festival, the largest event of its kind in the Southeast.
The weekend culminated with the first ever “Unity Game” between the Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before the contest tipped off, the starting lineup of each team was introduced in alternating fashion, not usually done in the NBA, and during the National Anthem players and coaches stood with locked arms in a display of unity. The teams asked everyone inside Philips Arena to link arms and stand united with them. Throughout the game, video vignettes featuring players from both teams expressed the importance of diversity and inclusion.
“We are humbled to receive the Cynopsis Award for best diversity initiative. As an organization, we strive each day to foster a positive environment of diversity within the city of Atlanta and beyond by using our platform to initiate open and productive dialogues that spur positive change,” said Nzinga Shaw, Atlanta Hawks Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and SVP, Community. “Events such as Unity Weekend, which encourage inclusion and bring people together for a common goal, create stronger communities and greater understanding of the cultures that make up our city.”
The Hawks also received Honorable Mentions for the Best Spot (Over 30 Seconds) for its “True to Atlanta” public service announcement and Philanthropic/Human Rights Campaigncategories, both of which highlight the Hawks Foundation’s Court Renovation Project. The initiative pledges to build or revamp 25 public basketball courts in the metro Atlanta area over a period of five years. To date, eight courts have been completed, increasing access to play for more than 600,000 local residents. The 90-second spot was directed by Atlanta-based Matt Bunting and features local government officials, community advocates, educators, team executives and players discussing the impact of the project.
Cynopsis Media, a division of Access Intelligence, is the publisher of six free trade publications for the television, media, digital, and sports TV industries. The 2017 Social Good Awards featured appearances from veteran journalist and national news anchor, Katie Couric, as well as actress Debi Mazar, star of TV Land’s Younger, both of whom spoke on the importance of social campaigns with which they are personally involved.
Press release provided by Corporate Communications for the Atlanta Hawks & Philips Arena