Demonstrates Excellence on The Field
Russell Wilson, the second-highest rated quarterback in NFL history with a career 102.4 rating, is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks through his first nine NFL seasons. With seven wins in 2020, he will be the winningest quarterback in NFL history through a quarterback's first nine seasons surpassing Peyton Manning's total of 92, and he is the only quarterback in history with winning records in each of his first eight seasons. Wilson led the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowl appearances (2013, 2014) and to the franchise's only title in 2013. Wilson is a seven-time Pro Bowler, has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week a franchise record 11 times, and holds 23 major franchise records and numerous other franchise statistical records. He has been voted team captain eight-consecutive seasons, won the Steve Largent Award (presented to the player who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and integrity) three times (2014, 2018, 2019), was nominated as the team's NFL Man of the Year in 2014, and, in 2020, was awarded the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation Award of Excellence for his efforts to fund cancer research.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year
Among the legions of heroes who have responded to the adversities created by COVID-19, Russell focused his energy toward supporting those of greatest need. In addition to continuing his long-standing community projects and newer initiatives, Russell addressed the pandemic's fallout by confronting a most basic human need – food security.
In direct response to the increased challenges families experienced as a result of COVID-19, Russell focused on how children, families and the elderly were losing access to food because of lost jobs, reduced wages, and closed schools. Statistics also revealed that people of color were disproportionately affected by these challenges. This truth led Russell and Ciara Wilson to make a personal donation of 1 million meals to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Russell also partnered with aviation company Wheels Up to create Meals Up to help support the growing levels of food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. The effort has already raised and inspired the equivalent of more than 47 million meals for Feeding America.
Through his Why Not You Foundation ("WNYF"), Russell partnered with United Way Worldwide, Rockefeller Foundation, and Door Dash to expand Ride United to have food and supplies delivered to vulnerable populations in 175 communities in the United States. Since the program's launch in April, more than 1 million deliveries have been made. The Seattle program, nonexistent before this year, has become the "pilot program," for a model used across the country. Through a partnership with Safeway Albertsons, the program has expanded beyond food banks to grocery stores. Due partly to this innovation, Seattle will soon become the region that distributes the highest number of food boxes.
The isolation caused by the pandemic exposed the inequities and injustices people of color experience at levels never seen before. Russell wanted to bring awareness to racial injustices and encourage everyone to be part of the positive change that they wanted to see. In June, Russell captivated the sports world with his moving and inspiring words to open the 2020 ESPY Awards. Along with his plea for the end to systematic racism, Russell and Ciara placed Out Of Home billboards and digital message boards in communities across the country reading, "Black Lives Matter, Love Russell & Ciara."
Russell recognized the importance of voting, especially among young people and communities of color. He and Ciara partnered with the campaign I AM A VOTER to communicate to NFL fans the importance of registering to vote. He was instrumental in bringing the campaign to NFL players, coaches and staff across the league including 100% participation by the Seahawks organization.
Despite the pandemic, Russell has continued his weekly visits to patients at Seattle Children's Hospital with virtual visits. Russell's latest community partnership is the launch of the Why Not You Academy. Opening in the fall of 2021, the school reimagines public education by co-constructing an innovative network of mentorship-based, deeper learning schools with the communities they serve.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past
During his nine-year career in the NFL, Russell's participation in efforts to improve our community and help those in need have been nothing short of extraordinary. Hospital Visits: Since his rookie season, Russell has visited Seattle Children's Hospital every Tuesday during the season. To date, Russell has visited over 600 pediatric patients. Strong Against Cancer: Russell served as the team captain for "Strong Against Cancer," a pediatric cancer research program at Seattle Children's Hospital. Started six years ago, the fundraising initiative reached its goal of raising $100 million. Russell's foundation and its partners collectively donated over $9 million for the campaign through its annual golf tournament and local partnerships.
Friends of the Children: As a result of the $1million donated to WNYF by Russell's clothing line, Good Man Brand, Friends of the Children, has opened two new chapters in the Pacific Northwest. Friends is a mentoring organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of generational poverty through mentorship. Funding has been used to generate a new two generation model to support both youth and parents for 12+ years and prevent an increase in the number of youths entering the foster care system. The efforts together have led Friends to an 86 percent high school graduation rate versus 77% in WA and 49% nationally for those in the foster care system.
Why Not You Scholars: WNYF's "The Dream Big" campaign donated $100K to create the Why Not You Scholar program. Through this program, scholarships are awarded to first-generation college students who would not otherwise have the financial wherewith all to attend post-secondary education. Support of the Arts: In 2018, WNYF partnered with the Seattle Symphony, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis, to raise over $1.4 million to create access and opportunity to the arts for children in the community.
Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back
During each of his nine years with the Seahawks, Russell could have been the team's nominee for Man of the Year. No player has consistently done more good in the community, day in and day out, than Russell. The information shared in this nomination is evidence the breadth and scope of Russell's commitment to affecting positive change in the community.