As part of its ongoing Inspire Change platform, the National Football League today announced this morning that eight social justice organizations are receiving grants, as approved by the joint NFL owner-player working group. The grants, which total nearly $2 million, are part of a $20 million commitment from the NFL and its teams to social justice organizations during the 2018 calendar year. The $20 million is comprised of grants to social justice organizations from the NFL Foundation, social justice grants approved by the NFL owners-players working group, team and player contributions, and an ongoing financial commitment to the Players Coalition.
According to a press release, programming funded via Inspire Change falls into three categories: education and economic advancement; police and community relations; and criminal justice reform. The programs being funded during the latest round of NFL Social Justice grants range from leadership development for young men of color, to training of public defenders, to an advocacy network for, and comprised of, formerly incarcerated men and women.
The Inspire Change kicked off in January of this year.
In addition to the grants awarded, the NFL Foundation has awarded 429 matching social justice grants to 247 current and former NFL players over the last year, totaling more than $1.2 million. Players including Mark Ingram and Anthony Levine of the Baltimore Ravens, plus Alan Page received grants to support local social justice organizations.
NFL teams also continue to engage directly with their communities on social justice matters with hundreds of events and millions of dollars in funding for various social justice organizations.
This round of funding will be awarded to the following organizations, with a focus on education and economic advancement; police and community relations; and criminal justice reform:
- Alliance for Safety and Justice: Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states by reducing incarceration and barriers for people living with a past conviction, advancing policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, and expanding constituencies and support for justice reform.
- Anti-Recidivism Coalition: ARC advocates for transformational criminal justice reform, empowers people to achieve their dreams, and supports people as they make their way back into society.
- Campaign for Black Male Achievement: The CBMA is a national membership network that seeks to ensure the growth, sustainability, and impact of leaders and organizations committed to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys.
- Civil Rights Corps: Civil Rights Corps are leaders in landmark litigation and high-impact advocacy that empowers communities to change the unjust legal system.
- Gideon’s Promise: Gideon’s Promise is building a public defender movement to amplify the voice of impacted communities and transform criminal justice.
- NAF: NAF solves some of the biggest challenges facing education and the workforce by bringing education, business, and community leaders together to transform the high school experience for students in underserved communities nationwide.
- Vera Institute of Justice: The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent studying problems, testing solutions, harnessing the power of evidence, and driving public debate to urgently build justice systems that ensure fairness, promote safety, and strengthen communities.
- VOTE: By centering the voices, expertise, and experiences of formerly incarcerated leaders, VOTE helps the people most impacted by mass incarceration create a pathway to change.
Working together with the Players Coalition, the NFL continues to support programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity. Other organizations receiving NFL Social Justice grants thus far include Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), Dream Corps, Operation HOPE and the UNCF (United Negro College Fund).
“We are honored to be working with the NFL on the Inspire Change Initiative. Mentoring is a proven long-term strategy for bridging gaps in academics and income, and this grant will allow our agencies to create more strong mentoring relationships,” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.