A group of young Golden State Warriors fans and their families were treated to a very special Christmas gift last month in Oakland, California. Not only did their beloved Dubs defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last year’s NBA finals, but they got the chance to cheer on their hometown heroes live at Oracle Arena from the comfort of the Rakuten private suite.
The event was part of the Warriors’ ‘Season of Giving’ initiative, which included thanksgiving dinners, Christmas gift presentations, a holiday shopping spree and more. Throughout November and December, Warriors players, coaches, legends, partners, executives and front office staff volunteered more than 1,000 hours, helped serve more than 3,000 meals, and donated more than 2,000 toys and 750 turkeys via numerous events to brighten the lives of thousands of Bay Area families and spread holiday cheer. And Rakuten was keen to be involved.
“We wanted to do something good for the local community as well,” said Yaz Iida, President of Rakuten USA, which is headquartered in San Mateo in the Bay Area. “Rakuten’s philosophy is empowerment. Everything we do is to empower people, society and businesses, so we were thrilled to be a part of the ‘Season of Giving’ campaign to help give back to the community we love.”
Rakuten donated the suite for the Christmas Day game to GLIDE, a Warriors Community Foundation beneficiary that aims to create a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization. Local families came out to watch Kevin Durant lead the Warriors past LeBron James and the Cavs 99-92 on one of the most important (and highest-rated) days in the NBA calendar.
“It’s just an amazingly special day for us,” said GLIDE’s Lisa Peckler. “It’s Christmas and it’s the Cavaliers against the Warriors, I mean you can’t ask for anything more. When we heard that Rakuten was interested in donating space in its suite, we were ecstatic. Our families don’t really get these kinds of chances. It’s wonderful for people who may not have as much for the holidays as others.”
Since its founding in 2012, the Warriors Community Foundation has delivered over $8.9 million in impact to support education and youth development in the Bay Area.
“The Warriors Community Foundation is committed to bridging communities and allowing all young people to reach their full potential,” said Joanne Pasternack, Executive Director, Warriors Community Foundation and Vice President of Community Relations. “Rakuten’s support of our community initiatives is essential to our success and we’re so thrilled that they decided to support our initiatives today and during the Season of Giving by donating a suite for young people to come out and be able to enjoy a game.”
With the holiday season now passed, and a year of great challenges and excitement ahead, both Rakuten and the Warriors are keen to continue collaborating to support their local communities in 2018.
For more on Rakuten’s charity event with the Warriors and GLIDE, watch this video.