Here at HQ, we don't typically deal with big picture, real world problems. Sure, we stress over things like Kyle Lowry's elbow and DeMarre Carroll's knee, but when it comes down to it, there's more important stuff going on out there. Never is that more obvious than tonight, when the Raptors will take on the Atlanta Hawks and Bismack Biyombo will provide an interesting sub-plot to watch for.
Biyombo will be donating $1,000 for every rebound he grabs tonight to educational opportunities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He's invited fans to support the drive as well, with the opportunity to pledge a dollar amount of your choosing for every rebound.
A native of the Congo, Biyombo's been a noted ambassador for his country, which is one of the poorest in the world. The life expectancy in the Congo averages in the 50's and the infant mortality rate is among the highest globally. This is real world stuff, and it's amazing to see Bismack give back in this way. All the money raised will go to the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI).
Founded by Ben Affleck, Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) is an advocacy and grant-making organization wholly focused on helping the Democratic Republic of Congo rebuild after decades of conflict. ECI supports the education of the next generation of Congo’s leaders, provide professional training programs for former child soldiers, and enable access to justice for survivors of sexual violence.
This PBS News Hour piece gives some background on Biyombo's relationship with the Congo, and highlights his most recent visit last summer.
If you want to pledge your support, you still have lots of time. Do what you can, then watch the big man get into his business tonight at the Air Canada Centre.