By Stacy M. Brown,
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
A national landmark is getting new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit thanks to a generous gift from the owner of one of the best teams in the National Basketball Association.
The Thurgood Marshall Center Trust for Service and Heritage received a $100,000 donation from The Penny and Robert Sarver Charitable Foundation that will go a long way toward the new HVAC system before summer activities begin at the historic landmark located in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood.
“We’d like to thank The Penny and Robert Sarver Charitable Foundation for their generous donation to assist in upgrading the HVAC system at the Thurgood Marshall Center,” said Thomasina Yearwood, the institution’s president.
Yearwood’s national nonprofit organization is dedicated to educating, encouraging, and empowering children, youth, and families to pursue equality and social and economic justice through provocative dialogue and collective action.
“With the Thurgood Marshall Center being a historic building located in the Shaw community, it is committed to preserving the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall and civil rights,” Yearwood said.
“Additionally, with Justice Marshall being the first Black U.S. Supreme Court judge, it’s important that we continue this legacy, and this generous donation has made that happen.”
Saundra Lamb, the vice-chair of the Thurgood Marshall Trust, said Sarver’s contribution helps affirm the national connection and support for the center’s mission.
“It helps us with something that we found ourselves in vital need of with our HVAC system,” said Lamb, an attorney.
“We appreciate the Sarvers because they took time to hear, listen, and act. I think it’s a reiteration of how this is a national treasure and how we need all hands-on deck and encourage others to follow through.”
“I thank the Sarver family greatly because I know they have a lot going on right now, and the fact that they followed up and acted is a real tribute to them with all of the great things they are already doing.”
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, where Robert Sarver’s Phoenix Suns are vying for an NBA title, The Penny and Robert Sarver Charitable Foundation has earned a global reputation for its generosity.
Robert Sarver helped to build the Sarver Heart Center at the University of Arizona in memory of his late father, who was among the first to undergo heart bypass surgery.
With more than 150 doctors and scientists, the heart center helps prevent and cure cardiovascular disease through research, education, and patient care. Physicians there have spearheaded the development of the SynCardia temporary total artificial heart. This award-winning project became the world’s first and only total artificial heart to win FDA approval as a bridge to human heart transplant in patients near death from heart failure.
The center also focuses on stroke research, heart disease in women, sudden cardiac death, minority-specific cardiovascular problems, and electrophysiology.
The Sarver Foundation also helped build the 70,000-square-foot Children’s Museum of Phoenix with a $1 million donation.
“When I reached out to corporate leaders across the nation to help the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust Building, located in the heart of the Shaw Community in Washington, D.C., to renovate and to upgrade its HVAC system, Robert Sarver was the first to immediately respond to help sustain this vitally historic nonprofit that represents the best of Thurgood Marshall’s legacy of civil rights advocacy and public educational programs,” said National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
“We hope that other American corporate leaders will follow the philanthropic example set by The Penny and Robert Sarver Charitable Foundation. Our nation is blessed with the ongoing generosity of the owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA Team,” Dr. Chavis stated.
Dr. Chavis, who also sits on the board of the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust, offered additional good news: “The National STEM Honors Society, based in Boston, Massachusetts, has just announced plans to work with the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust to enhance K-12 education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics throughout the U.S. Again, the Sarver donation is so timely and on point for the center’s programmatic future.”
First constructed in 1853 as the 12th Street YMCA and built to house the nation’s first Black Young Men’s Christian Association, a renovated and restored Thurgood Marshall Center opened 22 years ago.
The 35,000-square-foot building quickly became a focal point in the community, where tens of thousands visit regularly.
Tenants of the historic building include the NNPA, the National Bar Association, Concerned Black Men, Inc., Washington Literacy Center, and 21st Century School Fund.
Since its inception, the center has served as a co-location for several nonprofits that serve children, youth, and families.
“It’s so important when you think about this historic building and the fact that we serve about 40,000 people who come through our doors each year,” Yearwood remarked.
“Making sure our HVAC system is operable and functioning helps us, and it helps meet the community needs as we serve them because we get so many calls from people who want to have events at the center.”
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