The La Promesa Foundation is a new Pittsburgh-based and Latino-run organization founded in August of 2022 by Jose Torres. Recently, La Promesa’s celebrity basketball game–attended by professional athletes and TV stars alike–was the highlight of their season, but the organization’s work is year round and it goes far beyond shooting hoops. In an interview with Presente, Jose Torres spoke about why he founded La Promesa, his own story, and where he hopes the foundation will go in the future.
“I created La Promesa for a couple of things. I wanted to help our future generation, mainly in this case the Hispanic community that needs help with higher education funds, because I understand the struggle.”
Torres, who is from Puerto Rico, was a recipient of a number of sports scholarships for basketball during his school career. After his second year, a surgery on both legs ended his career, and while he remained a scholarship recipient, he recalled still having to come up with funding to cover his education. “I understand the importance of trying to find support for continuing education. That’s why I created La Promesa,” Torres said.
La Promesa’s main event, which happened this year on April 15th, is a celebrity basketball event which Torres described as a “marriage” of both things that he loves: helping his community and, of course, basketball. Although Torres has been running the event since 2019, this was the first year that it was hosted under La Promesa. “It was amazing,” he said. “All the players and sponsors that participated are amazing, and they want to continue to support our efforts through La Promesa.” This year, players included the likes of American Idol contestants, reality TV stars from Survivor, alongside players from both the Harlem Globetrotters and the Harlem Wizards.
“People think that all the players are professional athletes or that they play basketball very well. Some of them are professional basketball players; some of them really just want to be there for us.”
Torres also noted how grateful he is for the players, coaches, La Promesa board members, and everyone who participates in the event. Some participants travel from outside of PA and even from outside of the United States just to come to Pittsburgh for the game, which helps boost La Promesa’s visibility, and the visibility of the Pittsburgh region as well.
This year, tickets for the game were free but donations were the highest that they have ever been. La Promesa raised close to $21,000, which will go towards multiple scholarships for students of Hispanic descent.
“Some scholarships out there only give scholarships to students who are documented. With La Promesa, we give scholarships to students who are documented,” Torres said. “Thus far, we have given about $6,500 in scholarships.”
Two of those scholarships were given out last month during the basketball game, where Torres surprised two local students and their families with checks and confetti, congratulating them on their scholarships. “It was awesome to see their expression, and that’s why we’re dedicated to recognizing the Hispanic talent that is out there,” he said.
There is one last round of applications happening for La Promesa’s scholarship fund, with a deadline of May 31st, 2023. For more information on La Promesa and the scholarship process, students and families can visit La Promesa’s website at https://www.lapromesafoundation.com/. Scholarship applications can be found specifically at https://www.lapromesafoundation.com/about-3.
For individuals interested in donating, partnering, or being involved with La Promesa and the La Promesa Foundation, Jesús Torres can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on scholarships, awards, the annual charity basketball game, and board members can be found online at https://www.lapromesafoundation.com/.