NEW YORK -- As part of the NFL's Inspire Change social justice initiative, the league today announced renewals of nine national grant partners that total $2.5 million.
Since 2017, the NFL has provided more than $160 million to 33 national grant partners and hundreds of grassroots organizations across the country. This includes more than 1,450 grants provided by the NFL Foundation to current NFL players and Legends for nonprofits of their choice.
The nine renewed grants were recently approved by the Social Justice Working Group, comprised of 10 players and team owners. Over the last four years, grants have been awarded to nonprofit organizations that focus on the four Inspire Change pillars: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform. The specific impact these nine grant partners have made in communities range from fighting to end cash bail and pre-trial detention, to addressing "three-strikes" laws, as well as financial empowerment services.
"Our grant partners are instrumental to the success of Inspire Change and the societal impact the NFL is striving to make across the country," said Anna Isaacson, NFL Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility. "These organizations are rooted in their communities, working hard to provide necessary resources that create real change. The NFL family is committed to their missions, proud of their successes and inspired by their efforts to open up access to opportunity and equality in the ongoing fight for social justice."
Inspire Change support has helped grant partners launch innovative programs, release insightful reports, host trainings and workshops, succeed in advancing legislative reforms, and expand their own teams. Over the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Black Americans and further highlighted the health and economic disparities in this county, the NFL's partners have persevered to continue their tireless efforts.
"Players Coalition is committed to working with the NFL Player-Owner Social Justice Working Group, ensuring that Inspire Change grants are distributed to organizations who are committed to improving social and racial justice, with a focus on police and community relations, education, economic advancement, and criminal justice reform," Kelvin Beachum, Players Coalition Task Force member, Social Justice Working Group member, and Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman.
In addition, the NFL launched this month an Inspire Change content series that highlights the league's social justice efforts. The Inspire Change Explainer Essay examines how the NFL and its players, clubs, and partners address social injustice across the country and the Where the Money Goes vignette breaks down how the social justice funds are allocated.
The NFL's social justice grant hassupportedAlabama Appleseedin continuing to challenge Alabama's "three-strikes" law, which has resulted in life sentences for hundreds of people convicted of non-homicide crimes and has the potential to impact 26,000 people in Alabama prisons. Appleseed has won the release of several clients originally sentenced to die in prison, including Ron McKeithen who was released after serving 37 years for a robbery and had his first art show in April.
The grant renewal will assistCity Yearin bolstering their Whole School Whole Child program which helps more than 220,000 students at systemically under-resourced schools in 29 cities build key academic, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in college and their career. Young leaders like Noemi Vasquez Moreno serve as "student success coaches" making a difference in the lives of students while acquiring valuable skills and experience that prepare them to become leaders working across lines of difference.
Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) will be able to continue bringing greater diversity to the legal profession through its flagship Prelaw Summer Institute, an intensive, multi-week program for diverse, first year law students to prepare them for the academic rigors of law school and increase their overall chances of successful matriculation.
Community Justice Exchange makes an impact fighting to end money bail and pre-trial detention on the local and national level. The NFL grant will increase their funding to free more than 10,000 individuals annually.
Social justice grant renewal funding helped Gideon's Promise train 300 total summer law clerks amid the pandemic – a 1,400 percent increase over the original 20 clerks planned pre-COVID. Renewal funding will assist in expanding their mentoring program for public defenders and providing them access to resource materials that allow them to secure the release of incarcerated people. Dee Glickman and Charlotte Heyrman shared their experiences and gratitude for the community built as a result of this program (video).
Metropolitan Family Services will put social justice grant funding towards Communities Partnering for Peace (CP4P), a comprehensive, collaborative intervention model that reduces homicides and shootings, reclaims safe community spaces, and professionalizes the street outreach field. Most recently, Metro Family Services conducted Community Police Academy trainings across five districts of the Chicago Police Department.
Operation HOPE will be able to scale their work in providing credit and money management, financial wellness programming and economic resilience coaching to individuals, families and small businesses from our most vulnerable communities. In 2020, Operation HOPE's financial wellbeing coaches provided 231,383 financial empowerment services to adults nationwide through its credit, small business, homeownership, and disaster recovery programs; and educated 3,531 youth through its Banking on Our Future program.
UNCF's support to expand education and end the prison pipeline through by focusing on Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals has benefited many, including North Carolina native Jason Jones who received a degree from Wiley College while he was incarcerated. Because of this degree, Jones secured a higher paying position in his role at a Steel Manufacturer.
VOTE can continue their efforts in advocating for voter registration, including registering individuals with a felony conviction, and serving as a direct hub of communication between incarcerated people, their families, lawyers, media, elected officials and the Department of Corrections. With social justice grant funding, they launched the VOTE Institute for Policy to train members in legislative policy advocacy and hired a Women's Re-Entry Specialist – a formerly incarcerated woman herself – to spearhead the transitional housing project specifically for women.