The WNBA made the announcement today that Betnijah Laney, a guard/forward with the New York Liberty, has been given the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award in recognition of her excellent leadership and commitment to the community.

It was Dawn Staley, a WNBA great and Hall of Famer, who inspired the creation of this award, which is given to the player in the Women’s National Basketball Association who best exhibits the qualities of a leader in the community in which she either works or resides. The award and the person who receives it are a reflection of the character, leadership, philanthropic work, passion for the game, and uplifting presence that Staley had in the community.

Since she joined the New York Liberty, Laney has had a significant effect on the town in which she resides. Through meaningful and engaging community outreach during the course of the year and into the season, Laney was able to personally assist and motivate hundreds of young people living in and around the New York City area.

Betnijah’s love for and time spent volunteering with young people exemplifies how WNBA players are dedicated to making a great impact on the next generation, and the WNBA is glad to see Betnijah be recognized for her work, according to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “Betnijah’s passion for and time spent volunteering with young people exemplifies how WNBA players are dedicated to making a positive impact on the next generation,” stated Engel “The efforts that have been put out by Betnijah and players all over the league are a great indication of the example that Dawn Staley set and continues to forge as a role model in women’s basketball and beyond,”

The welfare of children and the education of young people are Laney’s primary concerns in the community. She was a panelist at multiple events, including one with The Players’ Tribune at the annual banquet for Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and a Her Time to Play clinic hosted by the New York Liberty and the Brooklyn Nets.

Throughout the course of the year, Laney continued to give back to the community. She was a guest of honor and a keynote speaker at the Community Impact Event that was hosted by Coalition for Change in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The objective of Coalition for Change is to assist families by providing educational support, mental health services, financial literacy training, and career placement opportunities.

She shared with young people her experiences competing in the WNBA, emphasized the significance of maintaining positive mental health, and offered advice on how to triumph over adversity. In addition to this, she helped address the issue of local food insecurity by volunteering at the food pantry located at P.S. 398 Walter Weaver Elementary School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. While there, she spoke to the pupils of the school and delivered food as well as care packages.

Laney participated at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank during the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service during the NBA All-Star 2022 event. This was part of Laney’s ongoing work in the community, which includes volunteering at NBA All-Star 2022. In addition, Laney took part in a virtual question-and-answer session with youth members of the Osborn Association. The Osborn Association is a group with its headquarters in Brooklyn that works directly with people whose lives have been impacted by the criminal justice system and that advocates for policies and practices that promote dignity, justice, and liberation. Laney spoke with these youth members.

Laney expressed his gratitude for the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award by saying, “It’s a pleasure to get this award.” “The importance of giving back to one’s community is a value that was ingrained in me at a young age by my mother. She instilled in me the value of being of service to others and giving back to the community in order to effect positive change in the lives of those I am surrounded by. To this day, I still consider it one of my top priorities in life. I will continue to use my position to make a difference in the world and to demonstrate the qualities that the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award honors.

According to Staley, “Betnijah’s impact on the New York City community has been nothing short of groundbreaking.” “Through her voluntary work, she exemplifies both social responsibility and leadership. Her drive to motivate other people is exemplified by her dedication to making the lives of people in the community better and having an impact on their life.

From among a group of WNBA players that were nominated for the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award, Laney was chosen as the recipient of the award by a designated committee. In honor of Laney, the Women’s National Basketball Association will make a contribution of $10,000 to The Coalition for Change.

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