What is the WAFA Invitational?


Born from a passion to help others and a love of the sport of basketball, the WAFA Invitational Charity Basketball Tournament was created in April 2018. Terence Thomas and Mac Deng, two best friends for over 10 years, were inspired to bring the community together and raise money to help those in need. WAFA is an acronym that stands for ‘We’re All From Africa’, referring to the evolutionary idea that mankind originated in Africa. They wanted to create a brand and event that emphasized hospitality, unity, and inclusion. With WAFA, it doesn’t matter your skill level, race, religion, political beliefs, or socioeconomic standing. What matters is the idea that everyone is uniting for a positive cause. With this goal in mind, they teamed up with Connetquot High School’s non-profit organization, Thunderbird Coaches Association, and co-founded an annual, 3-on-3, charity basketball tournament.

With just four months to plan and secure all funding for their first ever tournament, the duo spent their free time outside of school and work raising over $2,000 via 14 local businesses and 16 teams made up of nearly 70 participants for their inaugural event in 2018. The proceeds were donated to the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s Skirball Center for Innovation with the aim to help fund innovative cardiovascular medical research. In an effort to impact as many people as possible, the pair agreed that each year, the beneficiary of the tournament would change.

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our founders

Terence Thomas (far left). As a former College at Brockport basketball player, a Top-10 Suffolk County high school player, and current coach, personal trainer and mentor to many Connetquot high school athletes, Terence has a passion for the game of basketball and giving back to his high school alma mater. As a Stony Brook University Cum Laude graduate with a degree in Neuroscience & Physiology, Terence plans to apply to medical school in 2019 with the aim of pursuing a career as an Orthopedic Surgeon.

Mac Deng (far right). After graduating from Stony Brook University Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Business Management and minor in Accounting, Mac is pursuing his Masters of Science in Accounting at Stony Brook and intends to sit for the NYS CPA exam in the summer of 2019. Mac spent a full year volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club of Bellport, which serves an underprivileged community on Long Island, in developing a College Thursdays program with the goal of increasing member graduation rates and inspiring members to set goals for their career aspirations.

Beneficiaries


2018 beneficiary

The beneficiary of our inaugural tournament was the Cardiovascular Research Foundation Skirball Center for Innovation. We aimed to raise money to help fund groundbreaking cardiovascular research as well as promote fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Click here to learn more about the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s amazing efforts in medical research.

2019 Beneficiary

This year, we’re seeking to give back in a more hands-on way, while also targeting a different demographic. Proceeds from the 2nd Annual WAFA Invitational Charity Tournament will be used to fund a Back-to-School Giveaway in August of 2019, for a Title I Focus and Priority School District on Long Island. Title I school districts suffer from poor standardized testing scores and/or low graduation rates. In addition, 15% of the population of the school district lives below the poverty line, including 22% under the age of 18.

Our intention is to use 100% of our profited funds to purchase pre-assembled backpacks and school supply kits to hand out to students at a local community event. With our projections, we’re hoping to provide at least 500 kits for school students in need. In this way, we hope to alleviate some of the stress of buying new school supplies for parents in this school district. At our giveaway, we aim to not only distribute backpacks to the children, but to also speak with younger students about the importance of education and staying committed to their studies.


 
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