Kiesha Nix has been entrusted with the responsibility to lead the Los Angeles Lakers in public service as the vice president of Charitable Affairs. As executive director of the Lakers Youth Foundation, Nix has championed many programs centered around the well-being of the next generation, and now she looks to expand the Lakers’ reach in charitable acts.
In many diverse communities, Nix is known for being a resource among the youth. She has been given several awards for her dedication to public service. However, in an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Sentinel, Nix explained that being a lifeline between sports and charity holds the deepest accolade.
Nix makes history as the first woman of color to serve in her new position. “I am born and raised in South Central L.A., and it was important for me–when I delivered the check, or when we delivered the resources, that the kids get to see me. Because they get to see a lot of themselves in me, and I see myself in them. I let them know where I grew up and where I went to school because I wanted to give them some inspiration.” Nix said.
Lakers Hall of Famer, Earvin Magic Johnson, shared his enthusiasm on Twitter. “Congratulations to @kieshanix for being named the VP of Charitable Services at the @Lakers!! She’s the first African American female to be named Vice President of any department in the history of the organization!” he wrote.
As an executive director, Nix sat at the helm of “programming and funding priorities,” for the charitable actions hosted by Los Angeles Lakers. Her role called for laser focus on the mission of the foundation, which is to “assist underserved youth in our communities to develop and recognize their full potential by providing positive experiences and resources in education, health, and wellness and sports.”
Within her seat, Nix built a solid foundation around the Los Angeles Lakers and their reach in the community. She has remained focused on the continual growth in social responsibility within the sports industry.
Reflecting on her time as executive director, Nix stated, “I spent a lot of my time out in the community. I’m very public-facing.” She continued, “I told them [Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation] I’m not the executive director that’s going to sit behind the desk and just send out the check–I have to be present, I have to be available.”
Nix spoke of the spontaneity of the job, but also, how the collective community anchored her actions, providing an opportunity to show awareness to groups of people that are usually underserved.
Since 1992, the Lakers Youth Foundation supported the dreams and aspirations of children across the states, by providing them a safe place to believe in themselves and strive for greatness.
“We have to take that responsibility and we have to pay it forward, and just make sure we are providing proper resources–making things available for kids or youth.” Nix continued, “It all starts with sports, but it doesn’t just end there.”
As a Los Angeles native, Nix understands the authentic needs of the collective community. She elaborated on the passion that goes into supporting kids that come from familiar zip codes.
Under Nix’s leadership, the organization has empowered a school teaching garden, 15 Reading and Learning Centers, three STEM Lab projects, and over 40 basketball courts across the nation. In addition, the organization has donated millions of dollars in ticket giveaways, signed memorabilia, and Laker merchandise.
Reflecting on the opportunities in her new role as vice president of charitable affairs, Nix elaborated on how this new level deepened her focus, and that giving back is a necessity, especially throughout these socially distant times. She stated, “As Vice President of Charitable Affairs for the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s really extended my role and I can do even more with the foundation.”
“It’s really about leveraging the relationships and the platform that I had already built. Now, I’m really being able to take that to another level.” Nix said.
Nix considered her new responsibilities and developed a greater force within herself. Fresh growth happens internally within her department, and she is focused on leading by example.
In reflection, Nix said, “It has definitely made me realize that I have to learn to delegate more because I cannot spread myself too thin — and as much as I want to be at everything, I have to empower those that I work with.”
“It just takes my work to a whole other level– that I get to be more involved and ingrained in our entire franchise, and not just limited to our foundation,” Nix said.
Generally, the vice president of a 501 c3 operation works as a bridge for the organization, connecting the board of directors and other senior executives with the needs of the community. They develop plans that meet the objectives of the organization and maintain its values.
Nix attended the University of Nevada, Reno. She majored in English and studied criminal justice as her minor. She considered the path that led her to public service. “I always refer to my grandparents– who are no longer with us, but they instilled community in me,” she said. “At an early age, they instilled family and giving back in me.”
The newly appointed vice president of charitable affairs stated, “I was told the story that my grandparents were not rich in money, but they were rich in spirit and rich in love.”
“We grew up in South Central, but you know– I didn’t even know that we were in South Central or that we were considered underprivileged or of low income–they provided everything that I needed, and I watched them help the community,” Nix said.