SEPTEMBER 2020 | DAVON RUSSELL
The Knicks recognized Davon Russell as the recipient of the September 2020 City Spirit Award. Davon is the President of WHEDco, a non-profit community development organization whose mission is to provide families in the South Bronx with access to resources vital to fostering the development of healthy and vibrant neighbourhoods. When he started at WHEDco over 20 years ago, Davon was a part-time after-school teacher. He has always been an educator and mentor who believes in the transformative power of the arts.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Davon has been focused on promoting housing and food security, providing quality child care and resources to the South Bronx community and residents. essential workers, supporting impacted small businesses and facilitating remote learning for hundreds of children. Under Davon’s leadership and the continued efforts of WHEDco, tens of thousands of young people have grown up in nurturing environments with a network of nurturing adults and education professionals for mentorship. Youth in WHEDco’s programming attend high-performing high schools and colleges and become leaders within their communities, often exceeding expectations. Davon created and implemented WHEDco’s early childhood and youth programs, led inclusive staff meetings and retreats, and oversaw WHEDco’s operations and programming. All of its efforts are based on the organization’s mission of community development. Additionally, Davon was appointed to serve on the NYC Department of Education’s Community Education Council.
In recognition of Davon’s continued efforts, the Knicks donated $5,000 to WHEDco.
The New York Knicks are proud to recognize Ivy Brown as the August 2020 City Spirit Award winner. Ivy has dedicated her life to service, even during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been instrumental in setting up food pantries, community gardens and community events for underserved communities in the Morrisania area. Additionally, Ivy works diligently with local shelters to provide necessities such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, socks and other necessities to those in need.
Ivy is an educational coordinator with SUNY Attain Lab, which operates out of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violence in conjunction with Morrisania Revitalization Corporation. In addition to her community efforts, Ivy regularly teaches and helps students earn their GEDS and other educational opportunities – informative training, computer literacy, and career exploration tools. Last year, Ivy held a job fair in the South Bronx with major employers, drawing more than 300 visitors to an area that suffers from high unemployment.
The Knicks are proud to celebrate Ivy Brown as she continues to improve communities. A donation of $5,000 was made to the Utopia Resource Center, in Ivy’s name.
JULY 2020 | NOELLE SANTOS
The Knicks have recognized Noëlle Santos as the recipient of the July 2020 City Spirit Award. Noëlle is the owner of The Lit. Bar, a bookstore and wine bar that creates a haven that inspires reading, encourages healthy social connections, showcases diverse voices, and increases intellectual visibility in the Bronx.
In 2016, the Bronx was left without a single bookstore. With 1.5 million people, ten colleges, and not a single bookstore, Noëlle seized the opportunity to create a sustainable, more accessible bookstore that could reflect and meet the unique needs of her community.
On National Independent Bookstore Day on April 27, 2019, The Lit. Bar opened and became the only independent bookstore in the Bronx. With the onset of COVID just ten months later, Noëlle’s doors quickly closed. She, however, continued to serve her clients with resources, virtual events and anti-racism literature. The bed. The bar was able to reopen its doors on July 24, 2020.
The Knicks are proud to celebrate Noelle as she continues to be an influential and inspiring member of her community. A donation of $5,000 was given to Dear Black Girl in her name. Dear Black Girl is a local non-profit organization designed to teach, love and empower disadvantaged youth with a focus on young women. To learn more about Dear Black Girl, visit their webpage.
Learn more and schedule a visit to The Lit. Bar, click here.
FEBRUARY 2020 | SEAN WILLIAMS
In honor of Black History Month, the New York Knicks recognized The Dad Gang founder Sean Williams as the recipient of the February 2020 City Spirit Award. A father of three, Sean created The Dad Gang in 2016 to change the way the world views black fatherhood. This rapidly growing social movement has become the premier support group for young black fathers by sharing content that celebrates active black dads.
Recently, Sean launched a nationwide dad walk called “Strollin’ with the Homies” where The Dad Gang hosts a walk through local parks across the country for dads and their kids. Sean’s mission is to provide a safe space for dads of color to bond with their children and each other, creating brotherhood among fathers as they spread their message across the country.
n recognition of Sean’s tireless efforts in his community, the Knicks donated $5,000 to The Dad Gang.
To learn more about The Dad Gang, visit their webpage.
JANUARY 2020 | SEAN COLEMAN
In honor of Pride Night, the New York Knicks recognized Destination Tomorrow Founder and Executive Director Sean Coleman as the recipient of the January 2020 City Spirit Award. A local agency located in the South Bronx, Destination Tomorrow provides services to and for the LGBTQ community. They believe no one should have to leave their neighborhood to access LGBTQ-specific services. Sean founded Destination Tomorrow with a cornerstone of economic empowerment, providing clients with skills-building programs and services that provide academic enrichment as well as professional development.
As the founder of Destination Tomorrow, Sean became the first African-American in the transgender experience to operate an LGBTQ center in New York City. He continues to play a key role in advocating for policies that directly impact the lives of millions of LGBTQ New Yorkers. He also serves his community as a member of Gilead’s National Transgender Advisory Group, the NYPD LGBT Advisory Board, the Bronx Community Board, and the Transgender Legal and Education Defense Board, a national transgender-led policy and advocacy agency. .
The $5,000 donation was awarded to Destination Tomorrow.
To learn more about Destination Tomorrow, visit their webpage.
DECEMBER 2019 | STEPHANIE CONSIGLIO, BIANCA MUNIZ AND SAMANTHA HAASE
The Knicks recognized Stephanie Consiglio, Bianca Muniz and Samantha Haase as winners of the December City Spirit Award. Stephanie, Bianca and Samantha are Garden of Dreams Talent Show alumni who have battled or are currently battling cancer.
In 2015, at age 14, Stephanie was diagnosed with stage 3 germ cell tumors in her pelvis. During her four months of treatment, she turned to her passion for dancing to keep her going, never missing a practice or a competition.
Bianca was diagnosed twice, first with ovarian cancer at age 11 and then with breast cancer at age 21. Now, at 23, she has completed her final round of treatment. During her treatment, Bianca turned to music to help her through it. She released her first EP in 2016, several singles in 2017 and her second EP in 2018.
Samantha, 15, is currently being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Last year at the GDF Talent Show, she celebrated her love for music by performing ‘The Climb’, a song with a powerful message that she says aligns with her own journey.
The $5,000 donation went to iDance4aCure, an organization that aims to raise awareness of childhood cancer and fund cutting-edge research. After meeting at the Garden of Dreams Talent Show, the girls shared their stories and talents and helped raise over $17,000 for iDance4aCure.
NOVEMBER 2019 | ERIKA LUNA
The Knicks were proud to recognize Officer Erika Luna as the recipient of the November City Spirit Award. Erika has served her community for over 20 years as an NYPD officer and recently became a peer counselor. The goal of the counseling program is to provide mental health and wellness support and resources to officers in need.
Erika is a key part of the NYPD’s plan to curb the drastic increase in police suicides in recent years and has gone above and beyond her duties as an advisor. In October, while driving home, she used her training to save a woman from taking her own life in the Bronx.
The Knicks are proud to celebrate Erika as she continues to be a force in her community. A donation of $5,000 was given to Thessalonica Christian Church in the Bronx, New York, in her name.