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NBA Contest is a Slam Dunk for York College

The recent AT&T SlamDunk Contest during the NBA All-Star 2021 resulted in an $80,000 donation to York College.

The funds are in support of York as a largely minority-serving institution and its affiliation with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).

The NBA informed the college that its representative, New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin, and the two other dunk participants, were competing for their respective HBCU/predominantly Black institutions that provide higher education opportunities for our students. In representing New York and selecting York College as a beneficiary, Toppin, who finished second, earned $50,000 for York College, while AT&T also donated additional funding, bringing the total to $80,000.

“As a New York native and a New York Knicks, it was a tremendous pride and honor to represent York College as part of this year’s AT&T Slam Dunk Contest,” said Toppin. “I am grateful to have played a small part in York’s efforts to support students who have been most impacted by the pandemic and who continue to demonstrate what it means to be New York Tough.”

The funds are meant to support the college’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Specifically, York will add the donation to the One York Student Emergency Fund, established by Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes, president of York College, at the start of the pandemic-related shutdown. These funds will help our students who have faced mounting challenges during the pandemic, including the loss of jobs, many of them campus jobs; housing and food insecurity; and lack of access to health care.

“I want to extend my gratitude to the NBA and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for selecting three predominantly Black-serving institutions, including CUNY’s York College, to support as part of this year’s NBA All-Star,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “I was thrilled to see the New York Knicks’ own Obi Toppin dunk his way to a generous $50,000 donation that will benefit York students whose lives have been upended by this ongoing pandemic, and am also thankful for the additional support from AT&T. These funds will make a difference for our resilient students.”

“On behalf of our students, faculty, and staff, I thank the NBA, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, AT&T, and Obi Toppin for this much-needed donation, said  President Eanes. “It will help ameliorate financial difficulties for our hardworking students, most of whom lost jobs due to the pandemic; and many of whose parents have also lost employment. These are hard times that require creative new ways of giving. We are grateful for this very meaningful support.”

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund also expressed delight at York’s good fortune.

"We are excited that TMCF's partnership with the NBA will support students at our member-school York College, which is located in New York City, to provide much-needed COVID-19 student support," said Dr. Harry L. Williams, TMCF President, and CEO. "COVID-19 hit New York hard, and these funds will help the York College community as it continues to address student needs in the wake of this pandemic."

The communities around York College have been hit hard by COVID-19, as well as racial disparities in healthcare, policing, and much more. By providing a high-quality college education in this location, as well as serving as a mega vaccination site that has vaccinated more than 65,000 Queens residents in less than four weeks, York College, CUNY is doing its best to level the playing field in the name of social justice.

About York: York College enriches lives and enables students to grow as passionate, engaged learners with the confidence to realize their intellectual and human potential as individuals and global citizens. With more than 50 academic majors, York College attracts students from across the five boroughs of New York City as well as Long Island, Westchester County, and internationally. Popular majors include Nursing, Biotechnology, Pre-law, Pre-med, Aviation Business Management , and Journalism. Graduate programs include Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physician Assistant Studies, Occupational Therapy, Clinical Trials Management; Aviation, and the Master of Social Work (MSW). 

About The Thurgood Marshall College Fund: Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs. TMCF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, charitable organization. For more information about TMCF, visit: