Timberwolves give back as part of Prince tribute night

There was a purple buzz inside Target Center Friday night in anticipation of another Prince-themed celebration.

The late music legend loved his hoops and was devoted to helping his community through philanthropy - often doing it quietly without any fanfare or attention.

“We wanted Prince tribute nights to be something different than anything done before, about who he was and what he meant,” said Timberwolves Chief Strategy Officer Ted Johnson.

In addition to the purple takeover of the arena, the Wolves focused their own charity efforts on those near and dear to Prince. The team’s Fast Break Foundation made a $5,000 donation Friday night to an effort called Yes We Code.

Prince had a dream of educating and giving 100,000 underprivileged, particularly minority youngsters from the nation’s inner cities a path to succeed in the tech industry.

Infor, a national high tech firm with St. Paul offices and about 500 local employees, is taking the lead in that effort. The organization hopes to bring their own Yes We Code GenOne Initiative to the Twin Cities after recently graduating its very first class of college recruits in New York City.  

“Yes, people know the music, and it’s going to be talked about and studied and critiqued for a thousand years, but I don’t believe people spend a lot of time talking about all the great things he did charity-wise,” said Infor Senior Vice President Corey Tollefson. “And there’s a lot of us he affectionately called, “The Purple Army” that are taking it to the streets and doing really cool things around advancing some of his causes and Yes We Code is one of them.

“We try to find ways to provide children opportunities,” said Johnson. “And this is one particular area right where children of color, children of less means, but incredibly deserving kids have a shot to find their way through the tech sector.”