NFL TO HOST COMMUNITY EVENTS ACROSS TAMPA BAY
THROUGHOUT 2021 KICKOFF WEEK
In the lead up to the Dallas – Tampa Bay Kickoff game in Tampa on Thursday, September 9, the NFL will host a series of community and service events to celebrate the start of the league's long-awaited season.
From local efforts to fight hunger, events that honor our military members, and community greening projects, the NFL will unite and strengthen the community by leaving a lasting, positive impact on Tampa and the surrounding areas.
As a follow up event to Super Bowl LV, the NFL will start Kickoff week by celebrating the PASSING OF THE GOLDEN SHOVEL from Tampa to Los Angeles, which further progresses its dedication to sustainability across the country. As a part of this, NFL GREEN will work alongside Verizon, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, The Tampa Bay Estuary Program and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission to restore and plant sand dunes on Picnic Island.
Following the passing of the golden shovel, the NFL will continue its efforts to make the Tampa community greener. In partnership with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Verizon, and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, the NFL will build and install a hydroponic garden and pollinator gardens at Forest Hills Park community center. These NFL GREEN GARDENS will serve the community and its residents for generations to come. To close out the week, NFL GREEN will be joining Force Blue, Pepsi Stronger Together, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, NAUI, Keep Florida Beautiful and The Florida Aquarium for a marine debris and ghost fishing gear removal operation and a pier cleanup at Anna Maria Island.
The INSPIRE CHANGE HUDDLE LEGACY event on Tuesday of Kickoff week will honor the league's commitment to help close the digital divide. This event acts as a continuation of the INSPIRE CHANGE LEGACY GRANT PROGRAM which was launched during 2021 Draft week. As part of this program, the NFL Foundation and Cisco are each donating $75,000, totaling $150,000, to Safe & Sound Hillsborough. This donation will help fund technology infrastructure at the reporting center and support online STEM curriculum for the youth.
The NFL will also work with THE CRISIS CENTER OF TAMPA BAY and THE SPRING OF TAMPA BAY, dropping off backpacks full of school supplies, allowing both organizations to directly support families in the Tampa Bay community.
To honor military members and their families, the NFL, Tampa Bay Sports Commission and Force Blue will host a SALUTE TO SERVICE event to share the documentary,100 Yards of Hope, with hundreds of Tampa Bay service members. The film focuses on the collective partnership between the NFL, special operations military divers, scientists and natural resource managers who came together to restore a football field-sized coral reef for Super Bowl LVI and LV. The NFL and the UNITED SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS(USO) will also host an event inside of the NFL Kickoff Experience that invites fans to prepare care packages for service members, which will help express America's gratitude to our Armed Forces while strengthening their connection to family, home and country during the upcoming holiday season.
Ahead of Kickoff on Thursday, the NFL will work with Feeding Tampa Bay (FTB) to host two HUDDLE TO TACKLE HUNGER Kickoff Events. This builds upon the initial program that was launched at Super Bowl LV where the NFL Foundation made a $250,000 donation to FTB to combat food insecurity in the region, an issue that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The events will be hosted at FTB's Trinity Café locations, as a part of FTB's daily commitment to serve food to those in need. NFL Legends will be on-site to help hand out healthy meals as well as NFL branded merchandise.
The league continues to work closely with the CDC and local Tampa health officials on all 2021 Kickoff events to ensure we are providing an experience that is as safe and successful as possible for the local community and its many visitors.
OVERVIEW OF DRAFT WEEK EVENTS
An overview of each event is listed below, with full details and media contact for each event
Huddle for Change: Racial Equity & Mental Health: Thursday September 2nd, 4-6pm ET, Hybrid Event; In-person portion will take place at Firestick Grill at Amalie Arena (https://www.communitytampabay.org/huddle-for-change?blm_aid=43757)
- Huddle for Change is a partnership between the Super Bowl LV Host Committee, NFL Inspire Change, the University of South Florida, and Community Tampa Bay to welcome community members and local leaders to participate in an open and honest discussion about systemic racism and racial inequalities. Community Tampa Bay will discuss data findings, their own lived experiences, and tangible action steps our community can implement to eliminate systemic injustices in the Tampa Bay community.
Media - For more information on Huddle For Change, contact Toiaya Crawford at email@example.com or 813.203.7616
Inspire Change Huddle Legacy Event: Tuesday September 7th, 5:30-7pm ET, Safe & Sound Hillsborough-Kings Forest Recreation Center, 8008 E Chelsea St, Tampa, FL 33610
- The NFL Foundation, and Cisco, an Official Technology Partner of the NFL, will host an event with Safe & Sound Hillsborough to address the digital divide as a continuation of the Inspire Change Huddle Legacy Grant program launched during 2021 Draft week. The NFL Foundation and Cisco are each donating $75,000, totaling $150,000, to support tech upgrades, infrastructure improvements, and enhanced programming for Safe & Sound Hillsborough's reporting center to empower the young men they serve. Representatives from the NFL, along with NFL Legends, will take part in a one hour 'daily' curriculum which includes STEM curriculum and peer-to-peer engagement. *RSVP only event for media
Media – To RSVP to the Huddle Legacy Event, contact Jordyn White, NFL, Jordyn.White@NFL.com
Salute to Service Event: Tuesday September 7th, 7pm ET, Tampa Theater (doors open at 6:30pm to invited guests and media)
- To honor military members and their families, the NFL, Tampa Bay Sports Commission and Force Blue will host a Salute to Service event to share the documentary 100 Yards of Hope with hundreds of Tampa Bay service men and women. The film focuses on the unique partnership between the NFL, special operations military divers, scientists and natural resource managers who came together to restore a football field-sized coral reef for Super Bowl LVI and LV.
Media - For more information on the Salute to Service event, contact Jordyn White, NFL, Jordyn.White@NFL.com
NFL Green Golden Shovel Pass & NFL Green Gardens: Wednesday, September 8th, 8-11am ET, Forest Hills Park Community Center
- As a follow up event to Super Bowl LV, the passing of the golden shovel from Tampa to Los Angeles will occur on September 2. Volunteers will restore and plant sand dunes on Picnic Island to help prevent erosion and protect against storm damage. This project closes the loop on the location where the NFL began greening efforts leading up to Super Bowl LV. Partners Verizon, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission will also assist in the activities.
- Also partnership with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Verizon and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, the NFL will build and install a hydroponic garden and pollinator gardens at Forest Hills Park community center.
Media - For more information on NFL Green Gardens, contact Jack Groh, NFL Green, Groh@nflenvironment.com
Huddle to Tackle Hunger Kickoff Event: Thursday, September 9th at 11:30am – 1:30pm ET, Two Trinity Café locations (2801 N. Nebraska Ave. and 2202 E. Busch Blvd.)
- To expand on the Huddle to Tackle Hunger program that the NFL launched at Super Bowl LV in partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay (FTB), the NFL and FTB will host a community event during NFL Kickoff Week in Tampa, bringing the excitement of NFL Kickoff directly to those in FTB's care. Both Trinity Café locations are serving meals daily, with a choice of tableside or drive-thru supporting those seeking a complimentary hot and healthy, chef-prepared meal. As part of the Huddle to Tackle Hunger program, original partner Pipo's will be providing additional 'meals on the go' at both locations. NFL partners Campbell's® Chunky®, Frito Lay and Pepsi will also provide products to guest onsite - guests will also receive NFL branded merchandise. *There will be events at both locations but media can head to Trinity One on N. Nebraska Ave
Media - For more information on the Huddle to Tackle Hunger Event, contact Jordyn White, NFL, Jordyn.White@NFL.com
Marine Debris and Pier Cleanup: Friday, September 10th, 9am – 2pm ET, Anna Maria City Pier Landmark, Anna Maria Island (just south of Tampa)
- NFL Green is joining Force Blue, Pepsi Stronger Together, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, NAUI, Keep Florida Beautiful and The Florida Aquarium for a marine debris and ghost fishing gear removal operation and pier cleanup at Anna Maria Island. Local volunteers will join divers from Force Blue who will handle the underwater portion of this community cleanup.
Media - For more information and exact cleanup location, contact Jack Groh, NFL Green, Groh@nflenvironment.com
VIRTUAL COMMUNITY EVENTS
Character Playbook 2021 Kickoff Event: Tuesday, September 7, 1pm ET, Zoom (https://everfi.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_IDp8r5gZSEeTlLV-YfNiBg)
- The start to the 2021 school year brings a new set of opportunities and challenges. The NFL/United Way Character Playbook program kicks off the year with NFL Legend host Dhani Jones, Bengals Legend and NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, and Jeremy "Freddie Falcon" Legg as they help high school students explore how to stay mentally tough through transitions and how to be a positive part of any community. Funded by the NFL Foundation and United Way Worldwide, Character Playbook is a digital education resource that supports positive character development, social emotional learning, mental wellness and healthy relationships in middle and high school students. The Healthy Relationships program is available nationally to middle school students, while Mental Wellness Basics reaches 160 high schools across the country, all free of charge.
Media - For more information on the Character Playbook Panel Discussion, contact Elizabeth Cove, NFL, Elizabeth.Cove@NFL.com