It is no secret that there is a damaged relationship between our country's law enforcement and the communities we serve. My mission is to help rebuild this extremely important relationship, starting with the most important citizens… our children. To this end, I started the Basketball Cop Foundation, which achieve 501c3 status a non-profit organization under IRS EIN #81-2039399 last year.Our goal is to create inexpensive, repeatable ways for the police to build a relationship with their community through the simple connections built on a local basketball court.
Because of a connection I made with Tyree through playing basketball together, he now texts me regularly, and I got to help him learn how to drive!
My hope, and the Basketball Cop Foundation’s mission, is that more police and kids will be able to build a relationship like this. Our Hoops Across America
initiative is the main way we give police agencies an opportunity to establish these relationships. We’ve started out in Gainesville, FL, where I’m an active duty officer. In our town, the foundation has donated countless basketball hoops locally and has built three outdoor basketball courts. These courts give kids a safe place to play with each other and also with local police!
These simple, inexpensive initiatives create opportunities for cultivating off-duty relationships between police officers and those in their community.
Within the last year, the foundation has supplied over 30 basketball hoops and 100s of basketballs to 28 different police agencies across the country. The recipient agency then creates an event which connects their local kids with the officers in a game of basketball. The agency then donates the basketball goal and the balls to the community. There are over 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA. The only thing preventing us from reaching them all is funding.
I run this foundation as a second (non-paying) job, and hope to grow it as much as possible! Here’s how I hope to see the Basketball Cop Foundation evolve:
As communities get connected with their local officers, extra side projects can develop for even more impact. For instance, in Gainesville, we initiated a backpack drive. When an officer was chatting with a family involved in a minor car accident, it came up that the children didn’t yet have their school supplies for the upcoming school year. Our officer was able to pull two backpacks out of his car right then and there. That’s powerful.
During the holiday season, I challenged my fellow officers to identify kids in the community who may go with little or no gifts for Christmas. They made lists, we collected donations for gifts, and the officers played Santa for a day.
As we get more funding, we’ll be able to expand the Hoops Across America program to more cities. I hope to see a ‘Basketball Cop’ in every city as soon as possible.
Do you know someone who could fill this role in your police department? I encourage you to challenge them to step up and try out taking ownership of a Basketball Cop project.
The future of the Basketball Cop Foundation relies 100% on YOUR donations. Because of our hard work thus far, we have gotten amazing opportunities to partner with the NBA and other great organizations, but we are completely funded by community crowdfunding
. EVERY donation counts, regardless of amount. Check out our wish list for some estimated costs of our initiatives to see how you can make an impact!
To learn more about the foundation, please visit our webpage at www.basketballcop.net or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/basketballcop
You can also reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 352-870-8608 with any questions.
Thanks - Officer Bobby "Basketball Cop" White
Nampa ID PD
Lake City FL PD
Pima County AZ Sheriff's Office