Photo Credit: Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA
Kevin Love

The Ruderman Family Foundation which is active in the US and Israel, on Thursday announced Kevin Love, who plays in the National Basketball Association for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is a five-time NBA All-Star, an NBA championship winner, and an Olympic gold medalist, as the recipient of the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion in recognition of his outstanding contribution to reducing the stigma associated with mental health, and his achievements in the field of inclusion. Love will receive the award in a ceremony in Boston at a date to be determined.

Love is also a philanthropist, having established in 2018 the Kevin Love Fund to provide tools and help for people to improve their physical and emotional well-being, to assist more than 1 billion people over the following five years. On March 12, 2020, Love’s fund gave $100,000 to the support staff of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse—where the Cleveland Cavaliers play—who were unable to work during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. On April 26, 2020, The Kevin Love Fund sent a truckload of lunches to the staff of the Cleveland Clinic’s Medical Intensive Care Unit and its COVID-19 testing sites. On June 22, 2020, Love announced that his fund was pledging $500,000, matched by the UCLA Centennial Term Chair Match, to establish the Kevin Love Fund Chair in UCLA’s psychology department.

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The Kevin Love Fund has also aligned with the meditation and mindfulness app Headspace as a strategic partner to support its vision of improving the health and happiness of the world. And in 2022, the fund is launching a high school curriculum that supports students in expressing emotion and destigmatizing challenges with mental health. Through the fund’s unique approach, educators model vulnerability by sharing their own life experiences, while students are encouraged to express emotions through creativity and project-based learning.

The NBA star responded to the award announcement, saying: “I am honored to receive the 2021 Morton E. Ruderman Award from the Ruderman Family Foundation. They are leaders in the mental health field, working to end the stigma by providing tools and resources for those impacted by these issues. Over the past few years, athletes around the world have shown us incredible courage by shining a light on the mental health toll that comes with extreme pressure. In doing so, they helped kickstart a cultural shift around mental wellness. When I first spoke out about my mental health struggles, it transformed my life. Our goal at the Kevin Love Fund is to inspire people to live their healthiest lives while providing tools for both mental and physical health. We are on a bold mission to impact one billion lives over the next five years.”

Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said: “In both word and action, Kevin has played an instrumental role in destigmatizing mental health and bringing this long-overdue conversation out in the open, while expanding access to much-needed resources. He has served as a high-profile role model for countless people facing mental health challenges, who can now use his courage and determination as a guiding light. We are proud to honor Kevin with the Morton E. Ruderman Award for these inspired efforts.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.