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Breanna Stewart to match Tara VanDerveer’s Ukrainian relief donations

(Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images)

Breanna Stewart will match the funds pledged by Stanford basketball coach Tara VanDerveer in support of humanitarian efforts in Ukraine up to $20,000, the WNBA star announced Wednesday.

Leading into March Madness, VanDerveer announced that she would give $10 for every 3-pointer made during the women’s NCAA Tournament.

“Thank you for your leadership, Tara,” Stewart wrote. “I hope my match will help drive more people to also get involved!”

The announcement came amid a round of grant recipients announced by Stewart, which included a donation to The Conscious Kid to go toward the nonprofit organization’s COVID rent relief fund and antiracist children’s book education fund.

Since VanDerveer announced her Ukrainian relief commitment, the pool of donations has expanded to include coaches from the men’s and women’s sides.

Georgia Tech’s Nell Fortner was one of the first to join the efforts. On Saturday, Auburn men’s coach Bruce Pearl said that he’s “all in” and promised to up the ante in order to “help the Ukrainian people survive” the war.

South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, Saint Mary’s Randy Bennett and UCLA’s Mike Cronin have also joined the cause. Joni Taylor, who was recently hired as the head coach at Texas A&M, also plans on participating.

According to HerHoopStats’ “Tara VanDerveer Donation Challenge” tracker, a total of 629 3-pointers have been made in the tournament so far, which would $6,290 in donations per coach. The donations by VanDerveer will go to three charities and relief funds – Save The Children, Americares and Global Giving – according to Yahoo Sports.

Both Staley and Cronin floated the idea of taking the donations a step further. Cronin said that he would like to see “a charity thing every year” where $1 from every ticket sold in the first round is donated.

“There’s a lot of things at home that need help as well,” he said, mentioning helping “underprivileged girls, or homeless women.”

Staley added that there are communities in the U.S. “that really need us.”

“So if I accept the challenge of helping Ukrainians out, I challenge Tara,” she said. “If we can challenge each other, for every rebound, to help inner-city youth in Philly or Columbia, [South Carolina]. ’Cause there’s a lot of homelessness here. It’s prevalent in our state.

“So we can get two challenges going, both to help afar and nearby.”