By Christina Bassler, Communications Associate
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Mike Grubb and Mike Gibson are a Philadelphia dynamic duo for positive change. Grubb is the Sports & Athletics Coordinator for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Gibson is the founder of the 6th Man Foundation. Both grew up in the same circles playing at Philadelphia neighborhood recreation centers. Now, as adults, they’re giving back to the very recreation centers that helped shaped them.
The 6th Man Foundation began when Gibson saw some kids playing basketball with a beat-up ball. Instead of driving by thinking “what a shame,” he pulled over and handed them a brand new one. Delighted (and a little confused), the kids tried to hand the new basketball back after a photo-op. Gibson had to tell them “No, no, it’s yours to keep!” This small act of kindness stuck with Gibson and expanded to form the 6th Man Foundation. The 6th Man Foundation is a non-profit that donates hundreds of basketballs a year to kids who need them.
Grubb is a longtime Parks and Recreation employee. He currently coordinates athletic programs across the city. Much like Gibson, he grew up playing at his local recreation center from dawn until dusk (barring any schoolwork that had to be done!). Grubb is passionate about making outside activities accessible for Philadelphia kids.
The stars aligned in April of 2021 when Gibson and Grubb connected on Facebook. Gibson posted “How can I donate basketballs to Philadelphia Parks & Recreation?” Grubb was tagged in the Facebook post and an alliance was born!
Once the two men started communicating, the wheels of change were set in motion. Gibson used his foundation to get the basketballs. Grubb figured out which recreation centers needed new basketballs most. To date, they’ve arranged to donate 60 basketballs to five recreation centers.
And there’s more to come! The two men hope to provide new basketballs to every Philadelphia recreation center within the next year. Both understand the significance athletics can have on the lives of young people. Grubb says, “Playing sports and going to the rec centers keeps kids engaged and builds long-lasting relationships. It’s shaped me and it shapes others.”
For many city youths, recreation centers are the center of their universe. Having new equipment like basketballs can be a literal game-changer. Thank you to Mike Gibson and Mike Grubb for their generosity and hard work!