San Antonio Spurs legend David Robinson encouraged San Antonians to come together to raise $300,000 as a charitable fund launched by the Spurs organization tries to reach its $1 million goal.

Robinson said the coronavirus pandemic has starkly exposed many of San Antonio’s toughest challenges, making philanthropy more important than ever. He and son David Robinson Jr. spoke with reporters on a videoconference call Thursday to promote the Spurs Give Together Fund. The fund has raised more than $700,000 since it launched on May 5.

The younger Robinson serves as a board member of Spurs Give, the nonprofit arm of Spurs Sports and Entertainment. He said the Spurs Give Together Fund aims to bring awareness to issues that might have been overlooked during the pandemic, such as the digital divide and a rise in domestic abuse cases.

The Spurs Give Together Fund has already provided Wi-Fi access and hotspots to 800 families and is serving 500 meals a day to local first responders. It also will provide $150,000 in child care scholarships to families who need assistance as people return to work. Spurs Give also pledged to use money from the fund in partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank to feed 25,000 families with food from local restaurants, and to address family violence issues.

Spurs Give hopes to raise another $300,000 to meet its $1 million goal, but Robinson Jr. acknowledged that that would not be a panacea.

“Even though a million dollars is a lot, it’s not going to fix some of the systemic things that are being highlighted through all of coronavirus,” he said. “But at least we can at least do a part of highlighting it.”

His father agreed, pointing to the San Antonio Food Bank’s work providing food to thousands of families a day.

“I’m just seeing kind of how they’ve had to expand and then thinking about [how] it shouldn’t be acceptable that they have to serve so many people every day,” the elder Robinson said. “Maybe this will kind of spur people on to figure out better ways that we can do some of this.”

Spurs Give Executive Director Jennifer Regnier said the foundation would not stop fundraising efforts even if they pass the $1 million mark. Spurs Give established its priorities in conjunction with the nonprofit’s board members and the City of San Antonio’s COVID-19 philanthropy response group, she said.

“[The] tech divide, food equity, abuse and neglect are three of the things that kept coming up over and over again,” she said. 

Current Spurs guard Patty Mills also inspired Spurs Give to take a stronger look at supporting domestic violence services, Regnier said. Mills donated more than $100,000 to the Family Violence Prevention Services of San Antonio through his local coffee shop campaign.

Both the Robinsons said they hoped this fundraising effort would make people more aware of problems that exist in San Antonio that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Hopefully we can be better at serving one another, not just during COVID-19 times,” Robinson Sr. said.

Donations to the Spurs Give Together Fund can be made here.

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.