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In The CommunityDawn Staley Foundation
Dawn Staley and Students
Dawn Staley (second from left) celebrates the 2004 Dawn Staley Foundation Day in the Park with three participants in the After School Program.

Olympic women’s basketball gold medalist Dawn Michelle Staley started the Dawn Staley Foundation as a way “…to create a future of hope for at-risk youth…” in the North Philadelphia area.


Dawn Staley has been one of the standouts of the WNBA, and she ranks with the association’s leaders in many statistical categories. Staley’s abilities first drew national attention when she attended Dobbins Tech High School in Philadelphia in the late 1980s. An All-American at the University of Virginia, she went on to play professional basketball in France, Italy, Brazil and Spain. She also has played in the Goodwill Games and three Olympic Games as well as the WNBA. In addition to her skills as a player, she coaches the highly competitive Temple University women’s basketball team.

A native of Philadelphia’s north side, Dawn Staley worked hard to make her basketball dream a reality. The Foundation’s executive director Dr. Angelia Nelson relates that during the medal ceremony at the 1996 Olympic Games, Staley knew she wanted to share her feelings of accomplishment and success, and she started planning how to get other young women involved.

Dawn Staley Foundation Students
Dawn Staley (with some of the 50 participants in her foundation's After School Program) holds an annual Day in the Park in Philadelphia.

With the help of friends and Nike, Inc., Staley established the Dawn Staley Foundation in 1997. Its mission is to create and support “…educational and sports programs that challenge minds, build character and help youth to develop to their fullest potential academically, socially and physically….”

The Subaru of America Foundation helps support the Dawn Staley After School Project. Each year, 50 girls between 11 and 14 years old participate in the three-year program’s academic and athletic activities at the Hank Gathers Recreation Center and the Zion Community Center. It provides a nurturing, safe haven for the girls, where they receive academic support in a structured program that includes instruction on computers, reading, fitness and nutrition. Field trips provide cultural and educational exposure, and participants receive career mentoring from people who work in a variety of professions. Since the program’s inception, more than 500 lower-income girls have participated.

Additional information about the Dawn Staley Foundation can be found at