Giving Back to NFL Communities

Honoring the league’s commitment to serve the communities where the game is played.

The year was 1973. The Miami Dolphins defeated Washington in Super Bowl VII, capping a perfect season — an accomplishment unmatched to this day.

Gallup surveys showed, for the first time, that football surpassed baseball as the country’s most popular sport.

History was also in the making off the field that year. That’s when the league teamed up with United Way, pledging to build stronger, healthier communities. Today, it’s the longest-running partnership between a major sports league and a nonprofit organization.

The NFL’s four decades of work with United Way is just one example of its commitment to public service. Here are other ways the league gives back to the broader community and to those who play, watch, participate in or just love football.

GIVING BACK TO COMMUNITIES AND INSTITUTIONS

The NFL Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football. The NFL Foundation — in conjunction with the 32 NFL Clubs — supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes across all levels, including youth football and the communities that support the game.

Today, the NFL Foundation supports more than 45 grants. This includes championing the development of youth football through funding support of USA Football, the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

In 2019, the Foundation issued a record number of grants to the charitable endeavors of current players and NFL Legends, clubs and organizations across the country supporting community wellbeing. The Foundation has been at the forefront in responding to natural disasters with financial support and resources for youth and high school football teams and coaches as well as education and fitness curriculum for schools and teachers.

The Foundation also provides multiple grant opportunities to support NFL players and Legends’ philanthropic and community efforts and gives multiple grant opportunities to current players and NFL Legends for these purposes, including the Legends Impact Grant — a new component to the NFL Foundation’s Player Foundation Grant program. This additional funding was provided to the most impactful foundations created by Legends.

Building a stronger society

The NFL Foundation is also committed to building and supporting a stronger society and helping individual boys and girls — athletes and non-athletes alike — and entire school communities learn about the importance of developing character and healthy relationships through social and emotional learning.

Through strategic partnerships, the NFL Foundation is advancing initiatives that are interactive, engaging, and provide tangible results. These programs work to ensure that middle and high school students have the education and tools necessary to build moral character, navigate complex decision-making and improve conflict resolution.

  • InSideOut – The InSideOut Initiative provides a blueprint for systemic change that creates this space, elevates the purpose of the participation and holds school communities accountable using the InSideOut System and the InSideOut Philosophy.  Through well-defined pathways, supportive leadership and intentional coaching, students will develop much more than physical skills.  They will develop the capacity to lead productive, morally rich, empathetic lives that will result in the betterment of society.
  • Character Playbook – Launched in 2016 in partnership with United Way and leading digital education provider, EVERFI, Character Playbook is an innovative digital learning experience that uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships during their critical middle school years. Thanks to the United Way and the NFL, for over three and a half years, schools across the country have had access to a digital social and emotional learning program called Character Playbook at no cost.
  • 306 – The NFL is in its third year providing 306, EVERFI’s signature digital education program on African American history, to high school students. The league supports access to this resource for 175 high schools across Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Montana, and North Dakota. Sponsorship of the 306 program is part of the NFL's Inspire Change program, the social justice platform. In addition to providing students with access to African American history, 306 also serves as an important civic education tool, with 84% of students who have engaged in the program saying that they probably or definitely will vote in local, state or federal elections.

Sharing stories of African American accomplishments in the arts, science, sports, and academia supports the NFL’s commitment to education and economic advancement by inspiring positive change in communities across the country.

GIVING BACK TO Causes

The NFL Foundation has helped our most prominent causes by lending its support to the nation’s most respected organizations, such as the American Cancer Society through our annual Cancer Awareness initiative, Crucial Catch, military nonprofits such as Wounded Warrior Project, The Pat Tillman Foundation, T.A.P.S., the Bob Woodruff Foundation. In 2020, the NFL also held a record-setting Super Bowl fundraiser, to support Inspire Change programming.

SUPPORTING THE PLAYERS

The Foundation provides multiple grant opportunities to support NFL players and Legends’ philanthropic and community efforts and provides multiple grant opportunities to current players and NFL Legends for these purposes including the Legends Impact Grant – a new component to the NFL Foundation’s Player Foundation Grant program. This additional funding was provided to the most impactful foundations created by Legends.

  • Social Justice As part of the NFL’s Inspire Change platform, the NFL Foundation has awarded more than 520 social justice grants to more than 300 current players and NFL Legends over the last year, totaling more than $1.5 million to support nonprofit organizations working in the social justice space in communities around the country nationwide. Since 2017, the NFL Foundation has funded nearly 650 grants totaling more than $3 million to organizations working in the areas of social justice and equality.
  • Youth and High School Football Through our grant programs and partnerships, hundreds of thousands of youth have been given the opportunity to learn the game of football, get physically fit, and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors. The programs supported by the NFL Foundation also have provided youth football participants with safe and accessible places to play, as well as programs and initiatives that address the importance of proper coaching, health, safety and wellness, academic and life skills development and character education programs.
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