SBD/Issue 222/Sports & Society

Mutombo Close To Realizing Goal Of Opening African Hospital

Mutombo (l) To Open Hospital
In Congo In September
Rockets C Dikembe Mutombo has donated $15M to the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital & Research Center — named after his mother — which will open September 2 in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Mutombo was born (AP, 8/14). In a sports section Cover Story, USA TODAY’s Roscoe Nance reports Mutombo is still $7M shy of the $29M it will cost to build the facility, and he “must still raise money to cover operating expenses,” which he estimates at $2-2.3M annually. Today, Mutombo is launching a campaign to recruit 100,000 donors who would pledge $10 a month to his foundation for one year. Ground was broken in ’01, but construction “didn’t start until 2004 because donations came in at a slower pace than he anticipated, especially from other NBA players.” Mutombo: “My expectations were a little bit higher. I was looking at it to be done through the NBA. It might have been a mistake on my part by feeling that way. It was not an obligation or a duty ... to commit to my cause. But the guys have given me a lot of money.” Nance notes NBA players have donated about $500,000, and the NBPA also donated that amount. NBA team owners have contributed $700,000. Rockets F Juwan Howard gave $100,000; the Rockets last year donated $490,000; Kings co-Owners Joe & Gavin Maloof donated $25,000 total; and the league office “has made its resources and influence available in addition to supporting the project financially.” Mutombo would not say how much the league itself has given. Suns Chair & CEO Jerry Colangelo, who has pledged his club’s financial support, said of Mutombo’s efforts, “When you have a cause and you’re passionate about it, it’s easier to get people to join you if you lead first” (USA TODAY, 8/15).

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