'One that we will cherish': Groups that received Holiday foundation grants saddened by Bucks trade

NOW: ’One that we will cherish’: Groups that received Holiday foundation grants saddened by Bucks trade

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- When Corey Fells heard reports the Milwaukee Bucks had traded Jrue Holiday as part of a blockbuster deal for superstar Damian Lillard, he went to his closet.

Speaking in a conference room at the North Avenue Market, Fells wore a t-shirt featuring Holiday's picture and the words, "do your thang," with Holiday's uniform number, 21.

"They were our very first grant that we were able to access when we started our organization three years ago," Fells said.

Fells is the co-founder of Black Space, a nonprofit committed to providing free therapy sessions to Black and Brown people. In 2021, Black Space received a $15,000 grant from the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Foundation's Social Impact Fund.

Like a great pass from a point guard, Fells said the impact of that grant went far beyond the donation, itself.

"Their grant was the essential catalyst that allowed us to be recognized nationally," he said. "Funny enough, we got a number of anonymous donations from individuals that saw we won that grant."

The Holidays received the 2023 Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award at the ESPYs this summer. They were recognized for the more than $3 million their impact fund had granted since 2021.

In total, the Holidays' foundation issued grants to 20 different Milwaukee small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Wednesday night, the Bucks confirmed they'd acquired Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers

Before the team officially announced the trade, Bucks President Peter Feigin spoke at an ironworkers union event Wednesday evening. At a ceremony commemorating the five-year anniversary of Fiserv Forum opening, Feigin said he was aware of "rumors" and that there'd soon be an announcement regarding "player personnel."

Afterward, a reporter asked Feigin how difficult it would be to ship out a player and couple who'd become so ingrained in Milwaukee.

"I would say Jrue and Lauren are probably not just the examples of professional athletes, both celebrated at the highest level," Feigin said. "They're probably two of the greatest humans I've ever encountered and dealt with in such a big way."

When asked about Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler, who almost single-handedly beat the Bucks in the first-round playoff upset this spring, saying the NBA should investigate the Bucks for tampering, Feigin only said, "go Bucks!"

Those who benefited directly from the Holidays' donations said they'll always be grateful for the memories of Jrue Holiday playing a key role in the 2021 NBA Championship, as well as the support.

Pick Fresh Delivery is a Milwaukee-based plant-based grocery delivery business. Its founder, Sacha Simmons, said the Holiday's grant was instrumental to the company's success.

"Their belief in us, even at our beginning stage was so incredibly special and appreciated," Simmons wrote in an email. " Seeing Jrue leave Milwaukee (a city he and Lauren so powerfully impacted) is very sad but I know wherever they go they will continue to uplift the people and the city they are in."

Brandon Currie, CEO of Stryv365, said he was he appreciative of how the grant put his youth programming organization in contact with other grant recipients and community leaders.

"We won an NBA title, which is amazing and great," he said. "But I think who they are as individuals and their commitment to the city of Milwaukee is one that we will cherish."

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