This post originally appeared at nba.com.
Phoenix Suns All-Star Devin Booker likes to surprise people, particularly when he’s handing out $2.5M in grant money from his Devin Booker Starting Five program.
On Wednesday, after the Suns preseason game with the Portland Trail Blazers, Booker may have struck a new enthusiasm level when Girl Scouts from the Arizona Cactus-Pine Council unexpectedly met their favorite player and then were gifted $100,000 by him.
The Girl Scouts were initially excited by the invitation to attend Game 2 of the WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky at Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix. They had no idea what awaited them.
Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council consist of more than 20,000 from more than 90 communities, including Indian Reservations and military installations across 75,000 miles in central and northern Arizona.
The $100,000 grant officially tips off the 2021-22 class of the Devin Booker Starting Five – a $2.5 million commitment made by Booker in 2019 to grant $100,000 each to five nonprofits each season over five years. The remaining nonprofits of this year’s class will be announced soon.
The transformative funds from the Devin Booker Starting Five will help the Girl Scouts, among other things, replace their mini-bus necessary to transport youth to and from educational and character-building activities and experiences. Due to vandalism and theft, the nonprofit is without a functioning vehicle to support Girl Scouts served across the state of Arizona.
For Christina Spicer, interim Co-CEO of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, the funds could not have come at a better time as the nonprofit returns to in-person camps and day trips.
“The Devin Booker Starting Five grant will provide an incredible resource for our girls,” said Spicer. “Having our bus need fully funded will allow our girls more access to girl-scouting and will be a huge gift for us. The fact that Book is supporting our girls and standing for women and girls is an enormous gift.”
Booker has excelled on the court for the Suns over the past six seasons, becoming a two-time All-Star and led his team through an exciting run to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career. But his dedication off the court has been equally important to the city of Phoenix. For the past several years, Booker has treated youth from around The Valley to holiday shopping sprees, pledged more than $100,000 to Phoenix Suns Charities in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and is a Special Olympics Global Ambassador promoting inclusion through sport, especially opportunities involving basketball.