Center for Leadership Development receives $450,000 grant from NBA Foundation

Center for Leadership Development is the only organization in Indiana to be awarded funding.


The Center for Leadership Development has received a two-year grant from the NBA Foundation totaling $450,000. CLD will use the gift to expand its facility and programs to low-income communities throughout Indianapolis so many more fourth through 12th graders will receive the academic, career and life resources they need to succeed.

Partnerships like this one are essential to the success of the Center for Leadership Development, according to CLD President Dennis E. Bland, Esq. “With this investment, we will be able to serve more youth and families and cultivate and empower them for academic, college and career achievement, increasing their economic status, social capital and mobility. Because of this commitment, more Black youth across Indianapolis will discover and actualize their immense human potential.”

Melanie Frazier, director of development for CLD and manager of the RISE capital campaign, says sports participation builds discipline and critical thinking skills, both important for academic and career success. “Academics and athletics are not mutually exclusive, and continuing our collaboration with the NBA Foundation helps us demonstrate to young people and families that finding the right balance between the two is possible,” she said. “Participating in sports supports character development, which is crucial to achieving excellence in any career.”

CLD has been working since 1977 to amplify the value of education as a gateway to personal success, career opportunities and better quality of life for minority youth throughout Indiana. Programming centers on character development, educational excellence, leadership effectiveness and community service, and the organization partners with more than two dozen colleges and universities to offer scholarships to students who have completed CLD programs.

Launched in August 2020, the NBA Foundation focuses on creating greater economic opportunity and career advancement in the Black community. Its grant funding supports programs that help Black youth make successful transitions from school to meaningful employment.

Steve Simon, owner and alternate NBA governor for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, praised both organizations. “This meaningful partnership between the NBA Foundation and the Center for Leadership Development ensures more students of color will successfully transition from education to the workforce, an investment that will result in stronger communities, stronger families and a stronger city and state,” he said. “Indianapolis is fortunate to have organizations like CLD that are transforming the lives of our youth.”


Center for Leadership Development

The Center for Leadership Development offers youth and adult participants an enriching and engaging experience that helps them achieve personal and academic success. Our programs encourage high, realistic expectations and equip youth with the skills, understanding, confidence and hands-on guidance they need to develop personally, excel academically and build a value system of achievement. Over 40 years, we have enriched the lives of more than 20,000 youth and their families. For more information, visit


NBA Foundation

Launched in August 2020, the NBA Foundation is focused on creating greater economic opportunity and career advancement in the Black community. Through grant funding, the Foundation seeks to increase access and support for high school, college-aged, and career-ready Black youth and assist national and local organizations that provide skills training, mentorship, coaching, and pipeline development in NBA markets and communities across the U.S. and Canada. Executive Director Greg Taylor leads the Foundation, and its Board of Directors is comprised of eight representatives, including two current players (Harrison Barnes and Tobias Harris, and four NBA Board of Governors representatives (Gayle Benson, Michael Jordan, Tony Ressler, and Larry Tanenbaum), and the heads of the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (Adam Silver and Michele Roberts, respectively).