NEW YORK – The NFL has awarded five new national grants to organizations focused on police and community relations through its Inspire Change social justice initiative.
The recipients were announced Thursday, and the league will highlight its commitment to social justice over the next two weeks, with each team participating in game-day stadium activations and awareness.
The five new national grant partners are: Atlanta Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative (PAD), Chicago’s Crisis Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) co-respondent program, Choose 180, Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services Community Assistance and Life Liaison Program (CALL), and Peace for DC.
“Focusing on building police-community relationships is where the real change and impact will be community-driven,” said former NFL linebacker Taeko Spikes, a players’ union advocate and member of the executive task force.
The NFL has awarded more than $244 million to more than 40 national grant partners and more than 600 grassroots organizations across the country since 2017. The league is already moving toward its 10-year, $250 million commitment to social justice efforts.
Five new national grant partners received a total of $950,000. They were recently endorsed by the Social Justice Working Group, consisting of three active players, three former players and five team owners.
“It’s great because everybody who sits in that room or who has a seat at the table, we all have interests,” Spikes said. “And that vested interest is not making sure that communities are being served the way they should be served, because we understand that we all have a seat in these communities, but more than anything it’s a way for us to be able to give. Go back and do something like that. Which is going to be memorable with different people from different backgrounds, different ethnicities at the table.
“But we have a common goal, and that’s to make sure people are treated right and resources are provided.”
This year the league also introduced the Inspire Change Changemaker Award, given to 32 individuals, one from each team, who are making a difference in their communities through social justice work, either individually or as part of a nonprofit organization.
Between weeks 15 and 16 each changemaker will be announced or recognized by their respective clubs.
“The significance is huge,” Spikes said. “By being able to implement this award now, people around the country will see that guys care a lot more outside of the game and that they’re putting their investment back into the game, into the community.”
All 32 recipients will receive a $10,000 grant courtesy of the NFL Foundation to the social justice nonprofit of their choice.