TORONTO — Hoops 4 Israel will kick off its fourth year of fundraising with its annual basketball tournament on April 4 at 10 a.m. at HoopDome in Downsview Park.
Thirty-two basketball teams will compete in the event, a charitable initiative to benefit Israeli youth.
“Hoops 4 Israel is a platform that advocates primarily for Ethiopian-Israeli at-risk youth,” said tournament founder David Goodman. “However, with our growth comes more awareness of our brand. We now have an opportunity to bring awareness to other issues in our sphere, such as young adults with developmental challenges and autism, climate change awareness and sustainable living and Jewish community-building in Canada.”
Held in conjunction with UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and Birthright Israel Alumni Community, the Hoops 4 Israel brand has expanded consistently, along with its roster of volunteers.
“I am thrilled to witness the overwhelming support from over 160 volunteers, past Birthright Israel participants and their desire to see the project grow and succeed,” Goodman said. “When you see your peers returning year after year to volunteer, one can’t help but feel optimistic about successfully sustaining the Hoops 4 Israel initiative for years to come.”
Hoops 4 Israel generated $330,000 in charitable contributions at its first three tournaments. Since last year’s event, Hoops 4 Israel increased its fundraising total to more than $400,000, thanks to donations and corporate sponsorships. It’s the largest collective fundraising project among the 220,000 Birthright Israel alumni.
These donations have helped create programs and facilities that support at-risk youth in Kiryat Moshe and Bat Yam in Israel, where Hoops 4 Israel has funded an outdoor basketball court and an indoor gymnasium, as well as youth sports and cultural programs for Ethiopian immigrants having trouble adjusting to modern Israeli society.
Going beyond the actual tournament, the Hoops 4 Israel initiative has expanded with new side projects this year. The expansion includes partnering with David Lasday of Peace Players International, who works with Israeli and Palestinian children across Israel. Another new event is the Jam 4 Israel, a fundraising after-party to celebrate the success of Hoops 4 Israel and keep fundraising for the cause.
Earlier this year, the Hoops 4 Israel tournament model was taken to the campus of the University of Western Ontario, where students raised $2,500 at their own tournament. Goodman hopes to take the tournament to Montreal next year.
To donate, visit www.hoops4israel.com.