Collaborative efforts of players, teams, and the league create positive changes
in a growing number of urban and rural communities across the country
NEW YORK (January 7, 2020) – Since April 2018, more than $25 million in grants has been awarded to social justice organizations as part of the NFL's Inspire Change initiative. This includes over 500 grants awarded to current and former NFL players for nonprofits across the country. These grants support programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a focus on three priority areas:
- Education and economic advancement
- Police and community relations; and
- Criminal Justice Reform
Today, as part of the NFL's 100th season Inspire Change activation, the league is announcing six new social justice grants and two grant renewals recently approved by the joint NFL players-owners working group. These new grants and renewals total nearly $3 million and are in addition to the grants previously announced in January 2019 and June 2019. The league is also announcing new Inspire Change content to raise awareness about social justice.
"Our players in Cleveland and across the NFL continue to be extremely engaged in hosting meaningful conversations and creating advancements in multiple areas related to social justice," said Cleveland Browns Owner and NFL Owner-Player Social Justice Working Committee member DEE HASLAM. "Through Inspire Change, we are proud to support our players', the teams' and most importantly the entire community's collaborative efforts to focus on these core components of social justice to benefit the individuals who are immediately impacted each day. The intent is to improve the future of our communities by eliminating barriers and establishing opportunities for people to succeed. We remain fully committed to accomplishing our shared goals by working alongside impactful non-profit organizations that allow our players and teams to spark positive change in our neighborhoods now and for generations to come."
"It's great to be able to offer support for additional organizations who are working hard and making social reform their sole mission," said New York Jets offensive tackle, Players Coalition Task Force Member, and NFL Owner-Player Social Justice Working Committee member KELVIN BEACHUM. I'm particularly excited for the groups working to impact so many young people in the education system; particularly minority populations in under-served and under-resourced areas. With the right resources these students can defy pre-existing inequities in education and become community and world leaders while pursuing career paths within their passions. Investing in them is investing in our future."
"Since last year's launch of Inspire Change, the league has made significant progress in its social justice efforts," said ANNA ISAACSON, SVP of Social Responsibility, NFL. "While the work of players and clubs to reduce barriers to opportunity in their communities continues year-round, we are excited to emphasize the initiative this month with the announcement of new social justice grant recipients and enhanced programming. We look forward to further supporting player-led social impact as we embark on the new year."
New Social Justice Grants
Grantees receiving social justice funding in this round range from organizations providing educational support to those advocating to end mass incarceration. Following are the six new social justice grantees (bringing the total number of national social justice grantees to 18):
- Alabama Appleseed will use the funding for its Fair Schools, Safe Communities campaign, which combines research with policy advocacy, public education, coalition building, litigation, legislative action, and pro bono support to shift Alabama's historic reliance on incarceration to an evidence-based holistic approach focusing on treatment alternatives to incarceration, community programs, re-entry supports, and stopping drivers of poverty and incarceration.
- City Year will use the funding to augment its Whole School Whole Child student support program that unites 3000 young adults of all backgrounds to serve in schools as student success coaches.
- Community Justice Exchange will use the funding for its National Bail Fund Network project, which currently supports over 75 community-based bail and bond funds working to end money bail and pretrial detention at the local level.
- The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change will use the funding to support its Nonviolence365® campaign which focuses on decreasing the prison population, reducing prison sentences, altering drug sentencing policy, policing reform, reducing, overcriminalization, and juvenile justice reform. Funding will also support the organization's Students with King program designed for Pre-K-12 curriculum to inspire student to commit to nonviolence as a lifestyle through lessons on self-esteem, diversity, critical thinking and reflection.
- Metropolitan Family Services will use the funding for its Support Rapid Reduction Program which provides incentives for participants to make nonviolent choices. The organization will also use the funds to help support the Metropolitan Peace Academy, a training center that provides evidence and experience-based standards of practice for professional street outreach.
- The National Urban League will use the funding to support three programs focused on workforce development for young people, including court-involved youth – the Urban Apprenticeship Jobs Program, the Urban Youth Empowerment Program, and the Urban Re-Entry Jobs Program.
Social Justice Grant Renewals
Two previously-funded organizations have also had their social justice grants renewed in this funding round:
- United Negro College Fund will continue to use the funding provided to support programs focused on policy reform and social justice incubators.
Activating for Impact
Our 100th season Inspire Change platform activation also includes:
- New Television Spots to Raise Awareness. The first new television spot premiered on January 4 featuring New Orleans Saints linebacker DEMARIO DAVIS and will air throughout the month. The spot highlights Davis' efforts to help restore voting rights in Louisiana. The second television spot will air on January 11 featuring San Francisco 49ers defensive end ARIK ARMSTEAD. The final spot, focusing on NFL Legend and Co-Founder of the Players Coalition ANQUAN BOLDIN, will serve as the signature spot of the Inspire Change platform, highlighting Boldin's inspiration to launch social justice work across the country. The spot will air starting during Conference Championship games and run through the remainder of the postseason.
- New Nationwide Programming. Indivisible, a series hosted by Nate Boyer featuring real conversations with players and local leaders on the issues and values at the heart of NFL communities, also returns this month. The four-part series premiered Monday, January 6, with new episodes – featuring New Orleans, New York, Cleveland, and Miami – to be unveiled weekly across NFL Media's digital platforms (NFL.com, NFL YouTube and Facebook channels). Additionally, on January 8, the NFL Network will air a new Inspire Change player feature highlighting San Francisco 49ers defensive end ARIK ARMSTEAD and the impact he's made on educational equality with Leataata Floyd Elementary School in his hometown of Sacramento, California
- New Song of the Season. On January 9, as part of the NFL's partnership with Roc Nation, the league will announce the third installment of the "Songs of the Season" series on Good Morning Football. The series showcases musicians that deliver a song to be integrated in all NFL promotions during the season. All revenue generated from Songs of the Season will support Inspire Change grant recipients.
- New Social and Digital Content. Leading up to Super Bowl LIV, NFL players and teams will help define what the Inspire Change initiative stands for via social media. Using #InspireChange, from now until February 2, participants will post videos, photos, and written commentary that explain what social justice and reducing barriers to opportunity means to them.
- Pro Bowl and Super Bowl Community Engagement. In addition to the year-long work of NFL players and clubs to Inspire Change, the NFL will take part in several social justice-related events during the 2020 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl LIV including events with local law enforcement and RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality). More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
All new content can be viewed at www.nfl.com/inspirechange. Please join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #InspireChange.
Kelsey Boyd, Kelsey.firstname.lastname@example.org