The National Football League has announced grants totaling nearly $4.3 million in support of efforts to advance social justice.
Thirteen grants were awarded through the league's Inspire Change initiative, which was launched in 2018 with a focus on education and economic advancement, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform. Unanimously approved by the Player-Owner Social Justice Working Group, grant recipients include Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which will use the funding to support its Youth for Change Town Hall, launch a TLC Youth Advocacy program, and train staff members to lead wellness mentoring circles; Breakthrough Miami, which will use the funds to provide Breakthrough Scholars with work experience, college counseling, and financial literacy and leadership development coaching; and Just City-Memphis, which will apply the funds to its Memphis Community Bail Fund, Clean Slate Fund, and Court Watch programs.
Other recipients include the Oregon Justice Resource Center in support of its Women's Justice Project, which provides direct legal services to women in the criminal justice system; and the US Dream Academy, which will use the grant to provide mentorship, educational support, and leadership and career readiness coaching to Black and Latinx youth through its Children of Incarcerated Parents initiative. The social justice working group also earmarked $1 million for local team efforts to address the "digital divide" in communities of color.
With the grants, the NFL has committed $95 million to date through the initiative, which is part of a ten-year, $250 million commitment announced by the league last June in support of social justice efforts.
"Education is a basic human right, and we can no longer deprive students of the tools they need to succeed, including devices and the Internet," said Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum, who is a member of the Players Coalition task force and the Player-Owner Social Justice Working Group. "I am proud of the work Players Coalition and the NFL has done to help close this 'digital divide' and help those children in underserved communities. There is a lot more work to do, and I hope together with support from the new federal government we will be able to continue what we've started and make sure no child's education suffers because of lack of resources."
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