Bears players, ownership pledge $500K to social justice initiative

The Chicago Bears announced Tuesday that players and ownership are committing more than $500,000 to local social justice programs, becoming the first team to maximize the NFL's new social justice initiative.

Donation recipients with ties to social justice and an emphasis on education, community/police relations and criminal justice reform are in the final stages of being selected and will be announced at a later date, the team explained.

"Not only do we want to do stuff in the community," Bears linebacker Sam Acho explained in a video released by the team, "but we also want to put our money behind it."

Five Bears players -- Acho, Trey Burton, Chase Daniel, Akiem Hicks and Mitchell Trubisky -- are joining with four members of the front office, Chairman George H. McCaskey, to lead the initiative.

"For me, social justice is a big issue, especially in the community that I grew up in," Hicks said. "I feel like the best way to affect change is really working with the kids, the ones that can still be molded and conditioned into making proper choices. That's why I felt like education would be a big aspect of what we plan on doing here."

"It's been a good education," McCaskey said. "I've taken Sam's lead on a bunch of these adventures, I guess you would call them, visiting a couple prisons, going on a ride-a-long with the Chicago Police Department and looking at some of the initiatives that are happening in the community. It's been a real education for me."

The NFL and the Players Coalition finalized a partnership in May that dedicates close to $90 million for efforts and programs combating social inequality. The partnership aims to work closely with players, teams and other groups in a new and expanded community improvement program.

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