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Russell Westbrook Lends His Clout to Build Affordable Housing In South Central L.A. with Target

Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook has joined forces with Target to embark on a transformative community redevelopment project in his hometown of South Los Angeles.

Russell Westbrook attends the 5th Annual Black Love Summit at Hudson Loft on November 12, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

Westbrook and the Housing Project

While it has not been made clear what Westbrook’s input would be as far as investing in the project, the nine-time NBA All-Star’s initiative aims to address the pressing issue of affordable housing in South Central L.A. Some 180 affordable housing units will be built in partnership with Evermont, a project anchored by Target, Fox 11 reported. This development is situated on a site historically significant for its association with the 1992 Los Angeles riots following the Rodney King police beating.

In addition to providing affordable housing options for seniors and families, Westbrook’s project will also feature a SEED school and community-centered businesses, including the South LA Café, and create job opportunities for locals.

A SEED School, also known as a School for Educational Evolution and Development, is a type of charter school. SEED Schools are public, college-preparatory boarding schools that serve students from underserved communities.

“Being from the inner city, I understand the resources, access, and opportunities that are needed for young people,” said Westbrook, per a press release. “It’s a privilege to be able to help the South L.A. community and beyond, whether it’s through education or job creation.”

The Evermont project represents a collaborative effort between various stakeholders, including the city, county, local businesses, and civic partners. Westbrook, known for his philanthropic endeavors, founded the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation in 2012, dedicated to empowering at-risk communities through education, workforce development, and mental health resources.

The project’s unveiling coincides with efforts at the city level to address affordable housing issues, with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass signing an executive order aimed at accelerating and reducing the cost of affordable housing in the city. The L.A. City Council has also taken steps to develop a comprehensive housing search system to simplify the process for applicants.

Westbrook: Charity Meets Business

According to Forbes, the Hall of Fame-bound Westbrook is a solid businessman when he’s not on the basketball court.

Worth an estimated $375 million, the nine-time NBA All-Star’s foray into business reflects a strategic departure from the glamorous world of sports to the understated yet lucrative realms of fashion, consumer industries, and investments.

From launching his streetwear brand, Honor The Gift, to investing in diverse industries such as food brands Magic Spoon and Luvo, Pizzana, drink brands Flow and Poppi, muscle recovery company Hyperice, and the social media platform Triller, Westbrook’s entrepreneurial venures have been diverse. As he orchestrates the expansion of his three-year-old Russell Westbrook Enterprises (RWE) and explores potential acquisitions in the automotive sector — he acquired minority ownership stakes in five Southern California dealerships for at least $15 million — Westbrook seems to be set up for retirement from the sport.

“I want to be a billionaire,” he told Forbes. “Sooner than later.”

Honor The Gift is currently available in over 300 retail outlets worldwide and inaugurated its flagship store in Los Angeles last autumn. Although revenue was a modest $5.7 million in 2022, sales surged by 75 percent compared to 2021.

Under RWE is RW Digital, which counts clients such as AT&T, Nike, PepsiCo, American Airlines, Varo Bank, and A+E Networks. According to Westbrook, in 2023 RW Digital was expected to turn a profit with a $37 million in revenue.

“With RW Digital, my mission is to enable brands to reach multicultural audiences through programmatic data-driven media solutions. Current multicultural advertising lacks marketplace knowledge and a deeper understanding of cultural nuances. Our platform also partners with brands to drive social impact to important social causes,” said Westbrook in a written statement, Black Enterprise reported. “Empowering underserved communities is my passion. With this venture, I can make an impact on a global scale.”

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