The award is named in honor of WNBA legend and Hall of Famer Dawn Staley, the South Carolina women’s basketball coach and U.S. Olympic women’s coach.
Cloud’s primary focus is working with children. She is actively involved with youth clinics and education programming on such topics as the importance of fitness.
Last July, during a “Christmas in July” event in Washington, D.C., Cloud and Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), who owns the Mystics, assisted with shopping for school supplies, school uniforms and toys for underprivileged families who could not afford them at a local store. Later in November, she helped build a new playground in Southeast D.C.’s Ward 8, where the Mystics’ new arena is located.
During the month of December last year, Cloud participated in various holiday events. These included a Dream for Kids celebration, meeting with families of children who had disabilities, and helping children decorate cupcakes. Along with other athletes and front-office employees, she delivered Christmas presents to underprivileged families in the D.C. area.
“Her selfless attitude and dedication to delivering Christmas to underserved families in D.C. is the epitome of what this award represents,” Staley said of Cloud. The WNBA will make a $10,000 donation to the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation on Cloud’s behalf.
“Natasha’s commitment to volunteering is exemplary of how socially conscious WNBA players are and how they continue to excel as role models for the next generation,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said.
Cloud pointed out, “We let the community know we are here. 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.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.