For the first time, the NFL will collectively highlight its commitment to Inspire Change, its year-round social justice initiative, during Weeks 17 and 18. The league will integrate in-stadium elements as well as video content during in-game broadcasts to amplify the impactful social justice work done by NFL players, clubs, league, and social justice grant partners to break down barriers to opportunity and end systemic racism.
As part of the Inspire Change social justice initiative, the league has also awarded funding to four new national grant partners: Year Up, Wall Street Bound, Free Minds Book Club, and Get Schooled. These national grant partners were recently approved by the Social Justice Working Group, comprised of five players and five team owners, including Michael Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals), Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons), Gayle Benson (New Orleans Saints), Demario Davis (New Orleans Saints), Dee Haslam (Cleveland Browns), Shad Khan (Jacksonville Jaguars), Kelvin Beachum (Arizona Cardinals), Anquan Boldin (NFL Legend), Josh Norman (San Francisco 49ers), and Aeneas Williams (NFL Legend).
"We are proud of the work the NFL family collectively has put behind the Inspire Change initiative, particularly the immense value our Clubs and players have placed on utilizing resources and their platform to help create a more equitable society," says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We are excited and pleased to welcome four new grant partners to the NFL family, who with our players, our Clubs and the League will continue to drive positive change in local communities and across the country."
Clubs will showcase in-stadium activations including end zone stencils with social justice messaging, "It Takes All of Us" and "Advance Social Justice," goalpost wraps and banners, sideline branding, helmet stickers, and Inspire Change branded towels for players. Fans will be able to watch video compilations of players and clubs volunteering in their communities both in-stadium and in-game broadcasts, and view Inspire Change grant partner features and PSA's which highlight the impactful work being done by NFL players and grant partners in their local communities. These vignettes will feature several grant partners including National Urban League, Per Scholas, Breakthrough Miami, Center for Policing Equity, and several NFL players including Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders), Jason McCourty (Miami Dolphins), and Kenny Clark (Green Bay Packers). These will air during national game broadcasts and be featured on NFL Network, NFL.com, and the NFL's social media channels.
The NFL worked with New Era and the Players Coalition to offer an Inspire Change knit hat that can be worn during Weeks 17 and 18 by players, coaches and team personnel. The hat will feature social justice inspired messaging "Justice, Opportunity, Equity, Freedom" and will also be sold at retail, including NewEraCap.com, NFLShop.com, and Fanatics, with 100% of the league's proceeds being donated to Inspire Change grant recipients.
"It's one thing to talk about change and impact. But I'm one of those people who want to do something about it," says Kelvin Beachum, Players Coalition Task Force member, Social Justice Working Group member, and Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman. "The Players Coalition and the NFL's Inspire Change initiative are committed to doing the work by providing grant money to ensure education equity, improve social justice efforts, and focus on economic advancement and criminal justice reform. Real change comes from getting the right people on board, having the right conversations, and then finding solutions."
Since 2017, the NFL has provided more than $180 million to 37 national grant partners and hundreds of grassroots organizations across the country, which is part of the league's $250 million commitment to social justice efforts over 10 years. This includes more than 1,800 grants provided by the NFL Foundation to current NFL players and Legends for nonprofits of their choice. Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that focus on the four Inspire Change pillars: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform.
More information on the newest grant partners:
Year Up connects young adults, 90% of whom identify as a person of color, to livable wage careers at hundreds of top companies, and has shown the highest wage gains of any workforce development program. By providing marketable job skills, coursework eligible for college credit, and access to corporate internships, Year Up has been able to serve 35,000 young adults over the past 21 years, helping to close the Opportunity Divide - the gap between motivated, talented young people in need of an opportunity and companies in need of their skills.
Wall Street Bound provides young adults from communities of color with the skills, experience, and social capital to be successful in financial services careers. The NFL's social justice grant funding will support financing workshops and bootcamps, serving 174 students throughout 2022. The 20-25 hour bootcamps will offer finance career path introductions workshops and will lead into a rigorous 10-week technical and professional skills training program.
Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop works with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth and adults, using the literacy arts, workforce development, trauma, healing and advocacy to create personal and societal change. The grant will support a 12-week in-house peer support training program teaching trauma-informed care, social emotional wellness and crisis response.
Get Schooled uses digital programming to help underserved youth access first time jobs, and college, while providing the resources to succeed in both. Existing Inspire Change grant partners who work specifically with college aged youth will have the opportunity to partner with Get Schooled to bring their digital content and programming to those communities.