We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Gillard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
We are heavily involved with our community and although I acknowledge all of our efforts, I believe our efforts have been really seen while going through this pandemic.

At the start, we made the quick adjustments and adaptations for our members so that they didn’t feel the wrath of cancellations. We offered everything virtually; They were able to train with Jumpman LA every week for free and on their own they were able to use the HomeCourt App for free.

With these quick moves, we were able to stay engaged with our members and get them involved where our community was hurting.

– We introduced our STAYHOME (Standing Together Always YOUnified Helping Others Matters Everyday) Initiative to support small businesses and help our frontline heroes (April).
– We fulfilled our fundraising goal and fed 25 healthcare workers and supported small business El Taco Llama (April).
– We donated 50 balls (basketballs, dodge balls, and footballs) to LA Dream Center for kids in need (May).
– We gave 10 of our very own nurses/doctors a slice of Vanes.Goodies Strawberry Cream Cake (May).
– We hosted Glad Grad. Gave 15 Class of 2020 members (or siblings of members) a drive-by event that included media access inside the Vault, a large pizza, a MTB basket, a MTB Class of 2020 yard sign, a chance to win a $100 gift card, and more (June).
– We made Hawaiian themed baskets to give to our coaches that were supposed to be traveling to Hawaii (July).
– Coach Greg single handedly fed 20 Respiratory Nurses and ICU RN’s and supported small business Lusy’s Mediterranenan Cafe (August).
– We prepared First Day of School posters for all of our members (August).
– In September, we were back on the court while practicing and maintaining social distance and all safety guidelines (September).
– We announced that we are expanding our brand to More Than Volleyball (September).
– Coach Miguel offered his services and created TuesdayTalks. Our IG series of interviews with coaches that are More Than (October).
– We fulfilled another fundraising goal that was doubled by Coach Greg. We were able to donate 40 lbs of Halloween Candy to Operation Gratitude and $456 to Wounded Warrior Project for Veterans Day (November).
– We donated 15 (33 gallon) bags of clothes to Hope of the Valley (November).
– We gave 15 bags of snacks and toiletries to a veterans affairs housing unit (November).
– We hosted 12 days of Christmas giveaway (December).

All in 2020 while many families were struggling to make ends meet with little to no financial assistance, as an organization we were able to help the most vulnerable.

And as an extension of our STAYHOME Initiative, we will be supporting street vendors and the homeless community starting in March of 2021.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
More Than Basketball is everything that the name states. We are MORE THAN. We teach the game but more importantly we teach life, compassion, empathy, integrity, leadership, and a whole lot more.

What sets us apart from others is the MORE THAN. We dive into self-worth, self-esteem workshops, team building and bonding, and community service.

What I am most proud and/or most excited about is, we just entered our two year anniversary and we have only scratched the surface. We have over 85 members and they love being apart of MTB.

MTB got to where it is today with the support of family, friends, staff members, families within MTB, and more. It takes a village and a village is what we have! Was it easy? Never! But it is and it always will be worth it! The hard part wasn’t something to overcome per-say. I am very passionate about my purpose so I am willing to put in the triple shift to stay innovative, creative, and be one of the best non-profit youth organizations in the state and across the nation.

Everything is a lesson. And thats the beauty of it all. If you stay a learner, you have countless opportunities to grow and be better.

I want the world to know I AM MORE THAN! and within the two years of MTB, I have seen growth in our youth like no other. They truly believe in themselves and they shine on and off the court. I want the world to know, it only takes one person to believe in you and WE BELIEVE IN YOU! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In reference to the success of MTB and our involvement with the community, I would like to give ALL the credit to my family, my staff, MTB parents, and those that really support the vision of MTB. Without them, none of this would be possible. For example, Coach Greg and Coach Joseph facilitated our work with Veterans. Both Veterans themselves, I felt it was very important to acknowledge their service and the service of others. Or hosting a drive-by graduation for the Class of 2020, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without donations. A huge donation from Serra Medical Clinic and the donations from many of our families within MTB. Everyone involved is why MTB is successful at being More Than, especially now through COVID19.

Website: http://mtbmorethanbasketball.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mtbmorethanbasketball/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/More_Than_Bball

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MTBMoreThanBasketball/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/more-than-basketball-los-angeles-2?osq=more+than+basketball

Image Credits
Joseph Tamayo Photography iMMGes Photography

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