Steph Curry and Summit Coffee Partner to Rejuvenate Kids’ Recreation Center | Franchise News

Wardell Stephen Curry II is better known as Steph Curry, the National Basketball Association star who shoots three pointers in style and chews on his mouthguard while playing for the Golden State Warriors. Last Wednesday, Curry returned to his college 13 years after leaving to play in the NBA and finally got to flip the tassel on his graduation cap.

In a ceremony where his No. 30 jersey was retired and Curry was inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Curry finally received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Davidson College, a liberal arts school about 22 miles North of Charlotte, North Carolina.

It was at Davidson College where Curry crossed paths with Brian Helfrich, CEO and co-founder of Summit Coffee Co., a coffee roaster, retailer and cafe franchise. And the connections continued. Helfrich’s brother and co-founder, Chris Helfrich, became the CEO of Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation in 2018, a nonprofit which fights to end childhood hunger and ensure universal access to quality education.

And in 2019, Summit Coffee became the exclusive coffee provider for Sweet July brand, a quarterly subscription box filled with lifestyle products curated by Ayesha, Curry’s wife.

Through those connections, the idea arose to rejuvenate the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, which The Summit Foundation has supported since 2014 and where Curry volunteered as a student. Ada Jenkins was a principal in the early 1920s who, after a fire destroyed her school, raised money to build the first school for children of color in Davidson.

Today, the center houses the school in its main building, along with a basketball court and a soccer/lacrosse field. The nonprofit works to provide a recreational space for children in Lake Norman, especially children who are behind academically. But the center needed a facelift.

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The Ada Jenkins Center renovation announcement was made in front of 24 grade-school children in the center’s after-school tutoring program, who went home with a “swag bag” full of Curry Brand socks, shirts, shorts and Curry 9 Streets, according to Davidson College.

“So we pitched the partnership for this specific project by his team, and everyone got on board and shared an enthusiasm for the vision and potential impact,” Helfrich recalled. “From our longtime work in support of the Ada Jenkins Center, we understood how integral it is to bridging the gaps among the youth in our neighborhoods, and we want to help build those bridges.”

Curry’s “eyes lit up,” Chris Helfrich told Axios-Charlotte. “He said, ‘Oh yeah that’s amazing, let’s do it.’”

The announcement was made in front of 24 grade-school children in the center’s after-school tutoring program, who went home with a “swag bag” full of Curry Brand socks, shirts, shorts and Curry 9 Streets, according to Davidson College.

Rejuvenating the out-of-date gym will involve renovating the floors and walls and providing all new equipment—including a new basketball court—using $300,000 in funds provided from The Summit Foundation, Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation and Under Armour. Helfrich estimates the project should be completed by November.

“Building communities is the core of Summit’s mission statement,” Helfrich said, adding that the first Summit café opened in Davidson in 1998 and is still the home of the corporate office.

“We now have resources, and partnerships with people like the Currys and brands like ELP and Under Armour, that weren’t always available to us,” Helfrich noted. “We want to take what we have and use it to make the world—or, at least, our little sliver of the world—a better place.”

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A rendering for the new Ada Jenkins center gymnasium.

This project will also mark the end of Summit Coffee’s official charity arm.

“We started Team Summit Foundation to deepen our community and charitable impact as Summit grew. As we’ve expanded beyond North Carolina, TSF lost its focus a bit, and we feel like there’s a better opportunity for our franchise partners in Roswell, Georgia, for example, to engage directly with their local community themselves rather than forcing Summit’s nonprofit into that relationship,” Helfrich said.

Related: ‘Cafés Are Best Locally Owned’: Summit Coffee Sells 2 Corporate Locations to Franchisees

“In a way, it was getting more complicated and bureaucratic to have our 501(c)(3) be tied to everything,” Helfrich added, “so we wanted to make sure TSF left a big legacy—and that’s the genesis of this project—and then be prepared to let our cafés drive local engagement in their own communities.”

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