Wearing different colored pennies, Ayesha and Steph Curry walk on the soccer field at Lockwood STEAM Academy
Steph and Ayesha Curry play with kids at Lockwood STEAM Academy following the unveiling of the school's new playground on Sep 6, 2023 in Oakland, Calif. Credit: Amir Aziz

Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat.Learn.Play Foundation has committed to raising $50 million over the next three years to support Oakland Unified School District students, the couple announced Wednesday. 

Surrounded by students during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Lockwood STEAM Academy, the Currys unveiled a brand new jungle gym at the East Oakland school—the sixth Oakland campus this year where the foundation has upgraded an outdoor playspace. As students enjoyed their new play area, Stephen Curry signed caps and t-shirts, and took a few shots on the new basketball court. 

The $50 million the foundation plans to raise will help provide fresh meals, books, and new playgrounds for more OUSD students. The couple chose to invest in Oakland schools because it’s their adoptive home and where they started their family, said Stephen Curry, who was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2009 and spent his first decade playing home games at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Eat. Play. Learn. Lockwood STEAM Academy Playground Unveiling
Lockwood STEAM Academy students cheer on Stephen and Ayesha Curry as they pass a soccer ball around. Credit: Amir Aziz

“Eat.Learn.Play is rooted in Oakland, services Oakland, and from day one [Oakland] will continue to be a priority,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday. “Thirty-five thousand kids are serviced through the Oakland Unified School District and these kids deserve access to healthy and nutritious meals, the ability to be supported in their educational journey … and being able to create amazing play spaces and courts where they feel safe and they feel seen and can express themselves and imagine who they want to be when they grow up.”

Specifically, the investment will help OUSD’s Central Kitchen facility and garden in West Oakland—where fresh school meals are produced—become fully operational so it can deliver thousands of meals weekly to schools across the district. The foundation will also help revitalize school cafeterias, said Ayesha Curry, who also owns Sweet July, a home goods store in downtown Oakland.

“It’s just been exciting to see the change in the system and knowing that these kids are being well-fed so they can ultimately get in the classrooms and learn to the highest capacity,” she said.

Eat. Play. Learn. Lockwood STEAM Academy Playground Unveiling
Ayesha Curry talks with students at Lockwood STEAM Academy on the school’s new soccer court. Credit: Amir Aziz
Eat. Play. Learn. Lockwood STEAM Academy Playground Unveiling
Stephen Curry watches a student take a shot on newly paved basketball courts at Lockwood STEAM Academy on Sept. 6, 2023. Credit: Amir Aziz

Stephen and Ayesha Curry launched their foundation in 2019 and through it have refurbished 12 school and community playgrounds, provided millions of meals during the pandemic, invested in literacy initiatives, and supplied free books to Oakland youth. The yard at Lockwood STEAM includes two new jungle gyms, repaved courts, an outdoor classroom area, and a garden. The organization also plans to partner with the Oakland Literacy Coalition and other nonprofit groups to invest in additional tutoring at schools. 

The organization will also partner with the Oakland Athletic League to expand sports at the elementary and middle school levels in Oakland public schools.

Eat. Play. Learn. Lockwood STEAM Academy Playground Unveiling
From left: Christopher Helfrich, CEO of Eat. Learn. Play., Ayesha Curry and Steph Curry have a press conference at Lockwood STEAM Academy following the playground unveiling on Sep 6, 2023 in Oakland, Calif. Credit: Amir Aziz

“Eat.Learn.Play. is deepening its commitment to Oakland’s children by launching a major partnership with OUSD to transform the educational experience for a generation of OUSD students,” said OUSD Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell in a statement. 

“Together, we will do this by revamping more outdoor play spaces, increasing efforts to build students’ literacy, and ensuring that students have vibrant and dignified spaces to enjoy delicious and nutritious food from our Central Kitchen.”

Ashley McBride writes about education equity for The Oaklandside. Her work covers Oakland’s public district and charter schools. Before joining The Oaklandside in 2020, Ashley was a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and the San Francisco Chronicle as a Hearst Journalism Fellow, and has held positions at the Poynter Institute and the Palm Beach Post. Ashley earned her master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.