Philanthropic initiatives honoring Brittney Griner, modeled after her work in Phoenix, to take place in all 12 WNBA markets

As the Phoenix Mercury organization and concerned fans everywhere await her safe return, a staple of Brittney Griner’s work in the Phoenix community, BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive, will return this season in partnership with Phoenix Rescue Mission. For the first time, philanthropic initiatives honoring BG and modeled after her work will take place in all 12 WNBA markets, thanks to the commitment of every team in the league.


Mercury President Vince Kozar: “The most important thing is that our friend and teammate is healthy and safe. We remain hopeful in the efforts underway to bring her home, and we are grateful for the outpouring of concern we have received. As we await her return, WNBA teams are collectively committing to serve the community in ways that BG would if she were here. In Phoenix, we are launching the fifth season of BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive, an initiative she founded in 2016 and cares about very deeply. BG has always led with her heart and in her absence it’s our duty to do good in her name. We invite you to help in any way you can.”

Founded in 2016, BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive was the idea of Griner herself, who saw a need and was moved to action. On her drive home from practice one day, she saw unhoused persons in the Arizona summer without shoes. Always one to lead with her heart but never one to ask much of others, BG’s request was simply to drive around with shoes in her trunk in case she saw someone in need. But that idea, and her willingness to accept help, led to the Mercury organization establishing a shoe drive, engaging its X-Factor fan base and BG’s teammates, and partnering with local non-profit Phoenix Rescue Mission. The drive helped nearly 2,000 Phoenicians in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 (non-operational during COVID seasons in 2020 and 2021).

Not only did Griner lead the charge to collect new and gently-used shoes, each year she joined Phoenix Rescue Mission’s mobile “Hope Coach” and delivered the shoes and other resources directly to individuals in need in the community. Since arriving in Phoenix in 2013, Griner has been recognized with the WNBA Community Assist Award on several occasions for her impact in the community.

How to help:

  • Donate new or gently-used shoes of all sizes throughout the 2022 season at Mercury home games at Footprint Center.
    • The first opportunity to donate will be Thursday, April 28, at the team’s home preseason game against the Seattle Storm.
  • Fans are also encouraged to make cash donations directly to Phoenix Rescue Mission at:
    • Write “BG” in the comments to help the team track the impact of Griner’s mission

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