The NBA Foundation Selects Juma Sacramento for Support

Over the years, Juma and the Sacramento Kings have built a strong partnership. With such similar goals–both are committed to growth, excellence, and putting in the work for the Sacramento community–it’s easy to see why this relationship has flourished. When the NBA Foundation found out about the community-driven work these two organizations were doing together and learned how closely Juma’s mission aligned with the Foundation’s own goals of driving economic opportunity in the Black community, they saw a chance to help Juma Sacramento drive even more change for Black youth.

Due to systemic racism and structural barriers, many of Juma’s youth participants grew up in poverty, foster care, the juvenile justice system or suffered significant trauma. For these young people, career obstacles extend beyond just the hiring process. 

Functioning as “job one,” Juma’s employment opportunities at the Golden 1 Center help these young people gain a variety of transferable job skills while promoting their confidence and self-esteem. Juma provides a supportive work environment where young people can fail on occasion, but reframe those failures as coachable, teachable moments instead of fireable offenses. This allows Juma youth to build their work history and parlay that experience into jobs in the industry that fit their career goals. And now, with funding from the NBA Foundation, Juma Sacramento will be able to provide opportunities for even more Black youth.

When Tiana, one of Juma’s Youth Leads at the Golden 1 Center, heard about the support from the NBA Foundation, she was excited to know the work she and her teammates had put in was being recognized. “Thank you all for giving us these ongoing opportunities. I am extremely appreciative for being able to work within the industry and grow as a young woman of color in America.”

While it starts with a job, support from organizations like the NBA Foundation also allows Juma to provide an extensive curriculum of job and life skills that will continue to serve young people long after their Juma tenure. 

Donna Franklin started with Juma in 2016 as a young person in the program and quickly rose to a leadership position. Today, she oversees all aspects of the Juma job and programming as Juma Sacramento’s Site Manager. 

“While Juma Sacramento employs individuals aged 18+ for roles in food and customer service at stadiums, we prioritize the development of essential skills applicable to any career path,” Donna shares. “Through our workshop series, we provide interactive sessions covering goal setting, financial literacy, articulating professional value, resume building, mock interviews, and more. Additionally, in our enterprise operations, we engage in daily coaching and mentoring, nurturing confidence, teamwork, effective communication, customer service, conflict resolution, and other vital skills. We’re so grateful to have friends like the Sacramento Kings and the NBA Foundation, whose support makes services like these possible.”

Steven Torres, Juma Sacramento’s Enterprise Manager and a fellow Juma program alum, is thrilled to have the backing of the NBA Foundation because it will allow him to focus on initiatives he did not have the capacity for before now. “I’m working on some creative projects to help retain our Juma youth and create a learning environment that adds value to every scheduled shift–these programs will be possible because of this added support.”

Steven always works to inspire the young adults he leads before each shift with a meaningful quote. One of his recent favorites is, “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” Thanks to support from the NBA Foundation, Juma youth in Sacramento will have more tools to aid them on their journeys as they sprout into young leaders growing towards bright futures.

Left to right: Juma Sacramento Site Manager Donna Franklin, Juma Sacramento Enterprise Manager Steven Torres, Juma Director of Impact Claire Wheeler

Left: Current Juma Sacramento youth and Cart Lead, Tiana, Right: Current Juma Sacramento youth Abigale being recognized as Game Co-Captains at a Spring 2024 Sacramento King’s game