WNBPA names charities to receive grants raised from league fines

The Women's National Basketball Players Association is hoping to turn the bad into the good.

On Wednesday, the WNBPA selected four charitable organizations that will each receive a $35,000 grant, the funds coming from fines and suspensions levied by the WNBA during the previous two seasons.

Receiving donations will be Girls Who Code, the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life campaign, the Greater Houston Community Foundation for Hurricane Harvey relief and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to the WNBA's collective bargaining agreement, half of any fine and suspension money collected by the league will be donated to a charity or group of charities chosen by the WNBPA, with approval from the WNBA. The other half will be donated to charities chosen by the WNBA, with approval from the WNBPA.

"Essentially, the agreement allows the WNBPA to turn words into action, and player advocacy into philanthropy," WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike said in a statement.

The funds were collected from fines related to violations such as flagrant and technical fouls, as well as suspensions.

Girls Who Code's mission is to encourage more girls to participate in computing and tech and reaches an estimated 40,000 girls, according to the statement.

"The WNBPA knows that you can't be what you can't see, and that's why we are thrilled to be partnering with them to show girls that you can be a girl who codes and a basketball player," Reshma Saujani, CEO and founder of Girls Who Code, said in the statement.

The UN Foundation's Shot@Life campaign advocates for childhood vaccinations, and the goal of the Greater Houston Community Foundation's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund is to provide much-needed assistance to the families and community in Houston affected by the recent floods. The Southern Poverty Law Center specializes in civil rights cases for underserved communities.

For more than a year, WNBA players have been visibly active in social movements, participating in Black Lives Matter and national anthem demonstrations before games and speaking out against racial injustice. Last July, after several teams wore T-shirts in solidarity with these movements, the league levied fines against players that were later reversed due to significant backlash.