The Gene Banks League Foundation, Inc. was founded in 1995, officially called, “The Gene Banks League”, and was birthed in San Antonio, Texas. It originated as The Gene Banks Fiesta League, because of its mission to bond Hispanic and African-American disenfranchised youth together, and formulated mentorship, teaching opportunities, and community cultural awareness. Backed by former Mayor, Henry Cisneros, Gene Banks felt it necessary to “Give-Back” to the San Antonio East side of the city, which had been neglected and lacked support for those that lived in that portion of the city. That program had successful outcomes and many were challenged and changed as a result of the program’s presence and participation in the community.
In 1994, Gene developed the Gene Banks League in Greensboro, North Carolina and facilitated its events at the Windsor recreation Center, also on the Eastern side of that city. Basketball was used as the conduit to hook the young people, but the most important aspects of the league were the class room and mentoring sessions. With Gene’s influence along with friends in the NBA and entertainment industry, many supported and gave of their time to the league, without demanding any compensation or appearance fees. Many of Gene’s former Duke Teammates, stars and NBA phenomenon’s, like Charles Oakley, traveled to Greensboro to “Give-Back” to this successful program. Local stars as well gave of their time to support this worthwhile cause. Wayne Robinson (Virginia Tech; Detroit Pistons) Delaney Rudd (Wake Forest; Utah Jazz) Heywood Jeffries (NC State; Houston Oilers) Curly Neal (Dudley H.S; Harlem Globetrotters) are just a few of the locals who lived in the area that came out to support. The goal was to give the youth an outlet and structured organized program that would support their growth and help them understand the importance of respectability of their community and adults.
The Gene Banks League Foundation obtained its nonprofit 501C-3 organized structured programing since 2013. Being awarded a nonprofit status allows The Gene Banks League, which is now officially Federally named “The Gene Banks League Foundation”, to obtain Federal grants and major corporate partnerships to aid in its quest of bringing unity and structure for youth, not just the eastern side of the city, of Greensboro, NC but nationally and internationally. The Gene Banks League has extended its branches not just within the borders of Greensboro, NC, but has reached into other cities like Philadelphia, PA, which is Gene’s home town, New Jersey, Delaware, and even Canada. The acquisition of the nonprofit status, has allowed the league to generate funding in support of all aspects of its program model across multiple states, which is in alignment of Gene’s ultimate vision to reach the masses.
The Mission is to support and give youth required organized structure and teaching of not just being a good athlete, but a solid and productive citizen and to carry what they’ve learned and apply it towards “Striving for Excellence” in education. Gene’s vision is to also partner with existing programs around each city, understand their scope of services and find a means to be supportive through his Brand, and where appropriate, collaborate with these organizations to be a stronger valuable asset to the city. Too many of our youth have strayed down a wayward path of destruction, violence and disrespect. The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” is our quest, our mantra to see that our youth have the resources and materials needed to succeed. Gene has committed to seeing this become a reality so the goal and the prognosis guarantees productive outcomes, individual and collective successful, and ultimate fulfillment in making the difference in the lives of those we serve.
Too many of our youth are raised without fathers and the incarceration rate has constantly doubled through the years. Education has taken a back seat of being a priority in the household of many homes and the rate of erecting jails has been replaced as the priority. The Gene Banks League Foundation takes a more engaging, hands on approach to mitigating this problem and has developed programs that foster education, self-awareness , self-respect, and self-esteem, providing participants with excellent role models in which to emulate, which again is so needed in our communities.