The NFL announced today that the 2021 NFL Draft will again host Draft-a-Thon, a fundraiser that drives awareness and action to close critical gaps at the intersection of pandemic recovery and our hardest hit communities. Draft-a-Thon will raise funds on behalf of four national nonprofit organizations that are supporting underserved communities in these areas: The Digital Divide in education, health disparities, food insecurity and mental health.
"It's imperative to help those in need as we navigate toward recovery from the pandemic. Through Draft-a-Thon, the NFL Draft will serve as a platform to create action and change," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We're proud to partner with the CDC Foundation, The Education Trust, Feeding America, and Mental Health America in helping generate awareness and driving assistance to aid those who have been critically underserved throughout the last year."
Similar to last year, the Draft-a-Thon will be featured across the live Draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and NFL Network April 29-May 1 and will showcase the efforts of the four nonprofit organizations that support pandemic recovery in these areas:
- Health Disparities – CDC Foundation: Communities of color, indigenous communities, older and rural Americans have long faced health disparities. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic, where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted those already experiencing health disparities. Through Draft-a-Thon, the CDC Foundation will drive awareness of the cause of health inequities and promote vital community conditions, including meeting the basic needs for health, nutrition, safety, housing, education, and meaningful work.
- The Digital Divide – The Education Trust: Over this past year, the digital divide – a growing chasm between those who have access to computers and reliable, high-speed Internet and those who do not – has widened due to the pandemic when students needed to work from home without proper resources to do so. More than 16 million students lack the necessary Internet access at home to complete their homework, according to Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education. This year's Draft-a-Thon will support The Education Trust in their work to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families.
- Food Insecurity – Feeding America: Feeding America estimates nearly 42 million people, including 13 million children, could face food insecurity in 2021 due to the ongoing economic fallout from COVID-19. This equates to 1 in 8 people and 1 in 6 children. Feeding America's mission is to feed people facing food insecurity through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. Draft-a-Thon will provide an opportunity to inform fans that we all have neighbors that need our help putting food on the table, especially as we work towards pandemic recovery, and we can all help by spreading the word, donating and volunteering.
- Mental Health – Mental Health America: Throughout the ongoing pandemic, 4 out of 5 people who took an anxiety or depression screening with Mental Health America reported moderate to severe symptoms. The pandemic has made it clear to everyone that there is a huge need for more mental health services and support, especially in our hardest hit communities. Mental Health America is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promote mental health. Draft-a-Thon will raise awareness and understanding that prioritizing our mental health is a key part of recovering from the pandemic.
Draft-a-Thon will simultaneously come to life via Draft-a-Thon LIVE, a social livestream, hosted by NFL Network's Kay Adams. During the first two days of the 2021 NFL Draft, NFL players, Legends, celebrities, and additional guests will help rally NFL fans to raise awareness and funds for the four organizations the NFL is supporting on the path to pandemic recovery. Draft-a-Thon LIVE will stream across NFL social and digital platforms including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, Twitch, Reddit, and nfl.com/DraftaThon. More details to follow on Draft-a-Thon LIVE.
Fans and other supporters can learn more about this year's Draft-a-Thon and donate at nfl.com/DraftaThon.