The WNBA announced today that Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud has won the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for her community efforts throughout the 2018 season and the most recent offseason. The award, which is named in honor of WNBA legend and Hall of Famer Dawn Staley, annually recognizes a player who reflects Staley’s spirit, leadership, charitable efforts, love for the game and inspirational presence in the community.
Staley will be on-hand to present Cloud with the award prior to tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks, which tips off at 7 p.m. at Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights.
Since the start of the 2018 season, Cloud has put youth athletics and education at the forefront of her off-the-court efforts, hosting clinics and teaching children the importance of physical activity and the benefits of participation in youth sports. Highlights of Cloud’s community efforts include participation in Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) Foundation’s “Christmas in July” program, where she shopped for and gifted underserved families with school supplies, school uniforms and other educational toys prior to the start of the school year. In November, Cloud helped lay the groundwork for the Mystics’ service efforts in Southeast D.C., taking part in a KaBoom! Playground Build at the Bright Beginnings Center, where she helped build a new playground for children from Ward 8, home of the new Entertainment and Sports Arena.
Cloud continued her off-the-court work throughout the holiday, meeting with families of children with disabilities, decorating cupcakes and distributing awards to participants at a Dream for Kids holiday celebration. Cloud also delivered gifts to underprivileged families in the D.C. area as part of MSE Foundation’s Family-to-Family program with other athletes from MSE teams. During the offseason, Cloud also took part in a service project with Anacostia High School and spoke on a number of panels to help educated students on the future of sports and coaching, finding their passion and how to make a change in the world.
“We need faces in the community. We let the community know we are here,” said Cloud. “We let them know we want them to support us as much as we want to support them. For me, it was really important to get out to Congress Heights, a predominantly minority community. It’s important for me as a strong black female athlete to show my face and give young females an aspiration and gateway to something bigger.”
A designated committee selected Cloud as the winner of the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award from a group of nominated WNBA players. The WNBA will make a $10,000 donation to the MSE Foundation on behalf of Cloud.
Cloud becomes the second Mystics player to earn the award, joining Ivory Latta, who won the award in 2017.