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WNBPA, Nneka Ogwumike, & Pepsi Serve Up a Community Assist

The Sparks star leads a new effort to empower the next generation of leaders in all 12 WNBA markets.

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association announced a multi-year partnership with Pepsi Stronger Together on Thursday, with community giveback initiatives planned for all 12 WNBA markets.

Those efforts will begin with Pepsi pledging $50,000 and teaming up with WNBPA president and Los Angeles Sparks All-Star Nneka Ogwumike to support Girls on the Run, an organization helping girls build self-confidence and pursue their dreams to become community leaders.

“They hold such a special part in my career and my heart,” Ogwumike told Boardroom, “that I’m so grateful that we’re able to form a partnership that makes so much sense and feels more like a celebration than anything else.”

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The WNBA has a longstanding relationship with Pepsi, but this was the players association’s chance to work with a company that’s already a natural ally, WNBPA executive director Terri Jackson told Boardroom. She said the PA is very intentional about identifying potential partners, looking to find organizations and companies that align with the players’ values and understand who they are.

With Pepsi in the fold on the union side, now it can have a bigger impact in every city that the W calls home.

“For us to be in partnership with Pepsi Stronger Together and to have resources provided to amplify the communities that we serve and the initiative’s mission that we uphold, it’s huge,” Ogwumike said. “And I love that the player involvement is always authentic and real and direct.”

Additionally, Jackson, Ogwumike, and Derek Lewis, PepsiCo Beverages North America’s south division president, will be part of an advisory panel that will fund community impact programs across the country.

“We look forward to partnering with even more of the WNBPA’s exceptional and inspiring league of athletes on future tailored local initiatives throughout the 2022 season,” Lewis said.

The deal with PepsiStronger Together continues the amplification of the WNBPA’s #BetOnWomen message.

“It’s calling on others to bet on women and to understand that it’ll give you great returns,” Ogwumike said. “And it’s just exciting to see how our involvement as a union has evolved, especially in a way that just completely gathers like minds, organizations, and partnerships that really represent what #BetOnWomen means.”

The partnership will continue to allow the W to lead in terms of racial justice, LGBTQ advocacy and in the public health space.

“Women of the W are very diverse and are going to continue to be strong voices,” Jackson said. “When you #BetOnWomen, boys and men win. Families win. And communities are that much stronger.”

About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.