INDIANAPOLIS — Natalie Achonwa of the Indiana Fever today was named recipient of the season-long WNBA Community Assist Award presented by State Farm in recognition of her commitment and dedication to giving back to the community.
“There are great teammates on the court and great teammates in the community … Natalie happens to be both,” said Fever Vice President of Basketball Operations Tamika Catchings. “Her service comes from the heart. It is who she is as a person.”
Achonwa, a fourth-year center from the University of Notre Dame, was an integral part of the Fever’s community outreach this past season, the Fever’s 20th, leading the charge on the team’s 20 Towns for 20 Seasons tour, which included appearances at a variety of community events and basketball tournaments.
Achonwa also is committed to assisting organizations that focus on mental health, anti-bullying and suicide prevention in addition to helping with education and literacy among youth, adopt-a-pet, and empowering women.
“A big part of my ‘why’ is focused around the next generation,” said Achonwa. “I want to be able to lead and inspire them to reach their dreams, and ultimately do better than me. I love being able to use my experience as a college graduate and professional athlete to give back to a community that gives so much to us.”
Highlights of Achonwa’s efforts in the Indianapolis area are included below:
- May 11: Alongside Fever teammates, participated in “20 Trees for 20 Seasons” with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) and Youth Teen Tree Garden (YTT), to plant 20 trees near a new garden for youth to enjoy in celebration of the 20 Towns for 20 Seasons Tour.
- May 16: Prior to the season, as part of the Choices for Champions initiative, Achonwa spoke to around 2,000 students about the importance of making champion choices in life, including healthy eating, exercising and ending bullying.
- June 8: Achonwa, along with several Fever teammates, joined Salesforce on a float during the Indy Pride Parade to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
- June 26: On behalf of Hoosier Lottery, Achonwa and teammate Shenise Johnson held a Get Fever Fit Clinic at Noble of Indiana with local youth.
- July 16: Achonwa and teammates participated in the annual Fever Bowling Tournament, the largest fundraiser for Fever Cares Fund of the Pacers Foundation.
- Aug 3: As part of “Ace of Hoops,” Achonwa regularly purchased ticket blocks for each game and donated them to groups focus on mental health. Achonwa hosted her “Ace of Hoops” for this specific game with Girl Talk Inc. The group watched pregame warmups and sat courtside during the game.
- Aug 19: Achonwa participated in the Fever’s annual Call-the-Fever reading program in partnership with the Indianapolis Public Library. The program allowed kids to call in any day of the week, all day long to hear a Fever player read a book.
The WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm is awarded monthly during the season to the player who best reflects the WNBA’s passion to make a difference in the community. This season marks the second in which a player or team is honored for season-long efforts. In recognition of Achonwa’s commitment to her community, the WNBA and State Farm will donate $10,000 each, to both Girl Talk Inc. and Dressed for School.
Visit wnba.com/statefarmcommunityassist/ for more information on the award and its recipients.