Spencer Dinwiddie is back in L.A. Friday, back with his family, back with his foundation, in so many ways.
via Nets Daily
Last season we learned “The dude is different.” He spoke his mind and before the “stick to sports” debate got rolling, he made he clear which side he was on. Now Spencer Dinwiddie wants something else. He wants to contribute to a brotherhood on the court, while instilling a family atmosphere off of it.
The Brooklyn Net established the Dinwiddie Family Foundation in the summer of 2017 – family being the key word.
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” he said in this Netsdaily exclusive. “But when I felt like I had some career stability – remember we talked about being able to think a little bit more, and your mind kind of wandering a little bit more, especially in the summer– that was kind of the first step of that. It was just something where I really wanted to help kids and further work that my family’s always done.”
His mother, Dr. Stephanie Dinwiddie, has a Ph.D in education, and Dinwiddie’s great uncle started a small scholarship program within the church Dinwiddie worshiped at as a kid. He calls his family the biggest influence on his life.
Philanthropy had been firmly established within Dinwiddie family values, which the 6’6” University of Colorado alum has embraced. Dinwiddie’s goal is to continue this, with the help of his NBA platform.
“My great uncle’s program was very small. It would be like if you’ve got a certain GPA or whatever, you’d get 500 dollars towards books,” Dinwiddie remembered. “Obviously it’s not much but at the same time it wasn’t like we’re in a position to do much. Now in the position I’m in I feel like I’m able to provide a full scholarship through GAP coverages. I already have a figure in mind that I’m going to donate myself and support ‘x’ amount of kids. Hopefully with other donations through the auction system we could add other kids and what have you. I’m really excited about it.”
The foundation’s first effort is simple, but it has a subtle aspect. He, his teammates and his friends in the NBA —his brotherhood— are contributing game-worn gear and alternate game basketballs for auctions that will provide seed money for the scholarships.
These charitable donations are comicourtesy of Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, Sean Kilpatrick, DeMarre Carroll, Isaiah Whitehead, Doug McDermott, Joe Harris, D.J. Augustin and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, with presumably many more to come.
This being the inaugural year of his foundation, Dinwiddie’s unsure of exactly how many kids he’ll be able to assist along the way. But the goal is get 8, Dinwiddie’s (lucky) number on the Brooklyn roster, and possibly as many as 25 kids a year “if it goes crazy.”
“So you’re looking at every year somewhere between 32 to 100 kids that you’re supporting,” said Dinwiddie, assuming a starting point of between 8 and 25. “It’s, by definition, GAP coverage, but it turns into a full scholarship essentially after a kid applies for financial aid or FAFSA or whatever it is. Whatever else is left, we cover everything else. It becomes a full scholarship and if they continue to do well and meet the GPA requirements, it renews year over year for their 4 undergraduate years.”
Needless to say, Dinwiddie didn’t come here without a plan. It’s how he approaches the game of basketball on a nightly basis. But this is also personal to him so he cares more.
Dinwiddie’s witnessed people in his life go through hard times. Now, he’s lending a voice (and a hand) to the cause as his career begins to take off. This will help him keep them in mind. Always.
“For me it’s part of a product of the way I was raised,” he said. “Basketball’s afforded me a lot of opportunities. When I grew up I had two parents in the household but I also had a lot of friends in situations when I was growing up … I kind of wanted to help them.
“Just knowing where I came from and what I’ve become,” he continued. “I just really want to see everyone succeed. Just the tenor of the world right now, especially our country in terms of divisiveness. It’s sad to see how stark the difference is in life – how certain kids and certain demographics really have certain things that others don’t. Being in the NBA you get to see every demographic underneath billionaire.
“Even that you get to kind of see a little bit because of owners and what have you,” he powered on, dropping more gems. “You get to see all these different scopes of life from what started to where we are now and even what’s still above you. You’re like ‘how can I help as many people as possible? And that’s not always going to be with money obviously but if you could afford them an education…”
If you follow Dinwiddie on Twitter or Instagram, his charitable efforts reveal themselves. And for the 24-year-old, this is an early start. He’s still not guaranteed a minimum NBA salary this season … or next. His career may take off, but he also remembers how it almost didn’t, first after he blew out his knee his junior year in Colorado, then after the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls gave up on him, exiling him to the D-League.
But in his mind, it’s time, and as he said on our podcast, “Ain’t Hard To Tell,” if it’s in your heart to do something, then do it.
“You don’t forget the friends that you had when you were young and playing in the park and all this other stuff,” added Dinwiddie. “You’ve seen things – it’s part of who you are. Then you see your own transition and you’re like ‘Man, he was better than me when I was 10, but he got into whatever it was.’ So think about those guys, it’s kind of what makes you passionate about the foundation.”
To follow and help support the Dinwiddie Family Foundation, it’s on Twitter, on Instagram and on Facebook. On Dinwiddie’s Instagram bio, he has a link to The Dinwiddie auction, which you can find here.
Dinwiddie sees the game as a brotherhood, an extension of the family, and you don’t forget your family.