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.