Zion Williamson
Source: Cole Burston/Getty Images

Zion Williamson's Philanthropic Journey: More Than Sports

Discover Zion Williamson's significant charitable contributions, from covering staff salaries to empowering New Orleans communities. Explore his off-court legacy.


Dec. 18 2023, Published 7:57 p.m. ET

Since being drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson has not had a lot of game time due to various injuries. The most games he has played in a single season since being drafted is 61 – during the 2020-2021 season. However, his on-court woes have not held him back when it comes to making a difference in the community through various charitable efforts.

Below you will find a description of the power forward’s philanthropic activities over the past few years.

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Dedicating Court in New Orleans East

Back in 2019, Zion joined Alvin Gentry, Gayle Benson, and Swin Cash in opening the refurbished court at Goretti Playground. During the event, the star NBA player took the first shot on the renovated court. He then watched local kids shoot jumpers and layovers after working with them in drills. While speaking at the event, Zion said that the experience reminded him of playing on outdoor courts, in his words, “It brought back a lot of memories.”

13th NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service

In 2020 Zion combined forces with Luca Doncic, Trae Young, and Barack Obama to pack kits of food and school supplies. The event, which also brought together 400 volunteers, aims to avail school supplies and food donations to local Chicago teachers and students.

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Covering The Smoothie Center Staff Salaries

Zion Williamson pledged to cover the salaries of workers at the Smoothie Center for 30 days during the coronavirus shutdown. The period mentioned covered the initial length of the NBA shutdown due to COVID-19. The rising star quoted values instilled in him by his mother when making the announcement – via his Instagram. In the post, he stated, “My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have.”

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While noting the strength and resilience of the people of New Orleans, the star athlete said that he decided to provide the much-needed assistance because the city was still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, before being hit by the situation created by the coronavirus.

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“One City” Community Event

In 2022, the Pelicans power forward joined hands with local city officials to host the One City community event. The event was geared toward finding ways to counter the rising cases of violence in the city. The workshop, which welcomed both parents and kids as participants, was held at the Draydes YMCA. Kids got to enjoy a variety of fun activities and were served food as part of the event.

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While speaking to the media, Zion said, “This is just me wanting to be a pillar in my community.” The athlete also emphasized the need for the youth to take advantage of local community pillars like the YMCA – which he said used to be his playground when growing up.

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Donations to Jefferson Parish Schools

To assist students and their families with meeting the expenses associated with attending new schools, Zion donated $250,000 in mid-2023. The money which was to go to students in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish as part of their Summer Bridge program was donated through the star player’s charity vehicle – the Zion Williamson Foundation.

The students would use the money to buy new school uniforms after they were forced to change schools as a result of consolidations.

We can expect Zion to continue giving back in 2024 and beyond.

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