WNBA President Donna Orender announced today that a select group of Seattle businesswomen and civic leaders has secured an exclusive option to purchase the Seattle Storm.

“Today is a great day for Storm fans. Seattle is a terrific WNBA city and I’m thrilled for Storm fans who have been so supportive of their team over the years,” Orender said. “What this group of women is doing is yet another example of that famous Seattle civic leadership. I have no doubt that this group of women, with support from the public, business community and elected officials, will be able to make a strong case for this sale to be approved by the Board of Governors.”

“We are pleased to be able to step forward to ensure that Seattle will be the Storm’s home,” said Anne Levinson, who led the negotiations and is part of the new ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, L.L.C. “This is something we wanted to be able to do for Storm fans and the community.  I want to thank Clay Bennett for working with us on this.”

“In the time we have been a part of the WNBA we have consistently been impressed by the very loyal fan base and broad community support the Storm enjoys. We believe the Storm can continue to be successful in KeyArena. We are pleased we have been able to negotiate a transaction with an extraordinary group of highly accomplished women. Through our extensive negotiations we have become convinced that their commitment to the community and passion for the game will result in a secure and promising future for the Seattle Storm. We knew the right thing to do for Seattle was to work with Anne’s group to see if we could make this happen. We will assist them in any way we can to ensure a smooth transition and wish them the very best,” said Clay Bennett, Chairman of the Professional Basketball Club, LLC that owns the Seattle SuperSonics and the Women’s Basketball Club of Seattle, LLC, owner of the Seattle Storm.

In addition to Levinson, other members of the new ownership group are philanthropists and businesswomen who also have deep roots in Seattle and a history of civic involvement. Ginny Gilder owns an investment business and is president of one of her family’s philanthropic entities, which invests in projects throughout the world that seek to level the economic playing field and promote social justice. She was the founding Executive Director of Washington Works, a local non-profit dedicated to supporting welfare recipients in obtaining and retaining livable-wage employment. A rower, she won a silver medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.