Minnesota Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders and Minnesota Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve are taking on civic leadership duties as part of the multi-year partnership the entire organization is entering with The Minneapolis Foundation “to address systemic inequities and translate community anger into actions.”

The organization said the move, announced Wednesday, is the “first of many steps the organization will take to fight racism and help unite its communities following the murder of George Floyd by law enforcement.”

Reeve and Saunders will serve as leaders on one or two advisory committees designed to oversee the disbursement of the Fund for Safe Communities. The second committee will feature diverse youth from Minneapolis.

That fund will “champion the prevention of further violence, address systemic inequities, reform the criminal justice system and heal communities affected by this tragedy.”

“Minneapolis is a special place,” Saunders said in a statement. “I want all people of color to experience this amazing city without fear. We talk a lot about actions over words; we need to make meaningful change and that starts with partnering with The Minneapolis Foundation. As leaders on this advisory committee, we will work diligently with our youth counterparts to listen to what needs to change, raise awareness, and partner with informed leaders who can help bring meaningful impact to our cities.”

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The two committees will “work collectively to disburse funds from the Fund for Safe Communities as early as next week.”

“This is a moment where we all need to step into some bigger, bolder leadership,” Chanda Smith Baker, senior vice president of impact at The Minneapolis Foundation, said in a statement. “We need allies in this work and we are excited the Timberwolves and Lynx have decided to step into this partnership, dig deep into understanding the complexity of the inequities, and to help us drive toward solutions that ensure senseless tragedies rooted in racism never happen again.”

The Timberwolves and Lynx organization said it will announce “additional programming and initiatives pertaining to ending systemic racism and the need for community conversations.” Players will be part of those initiatives. You can donate to the fund by texting SAFEMPLS to 243725.

“I am proud of the ways in which the Minnesota Lynx have used our voices to stand up for social justice. The senseless murder of George Floyd has strengthened our resolve to bring about change in the inequities that face our black and brown communities,” Reeve said in a statement. “This alignment with The Minneapolis Foundation will allow us to directly impact these inequities as well as be active participants in the healing of our communities.”