ATLANTA — Boys & Girls Clubs of America is one of 13 nonprofit organizations added last week to the list of partners in the NFL’s Inspire Change social justice initiative.
The Atlanta-based Boys & Girls Clubs will use the funding to support its efforts in service-learning projects to educate 5,000 teens in advocacy through the Youth for Change Town Hall and the creation of the TLC Youth Advocacy programs.
The organization also plans to train 32 of its staffers to lead so-called Wellness Mentoring Circles that will address topics related to culture, history and customs in the context of community, according to a Boys & Girls Clubs statement.
“Right now, we are at a critical juncture as widening economic, equity and opportunity gaps caused by long-standing systemic inequities limit and threaten the great futures our young people deserve,” the statement said. “With 60 percent of Club members identifying as Black, Latino, Asian, Native or other, Boys & Girls Clubs is committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure equity and opportunity for every kid and teen. We are so thankful to have the NFL community stand with us as we enable youth to have important and sometimes difficult conversations on race and equity, and to empower their voices to create positive change in communities.”
The 13 new grants — also awarded to organizations across the country like Breakthrough Miami, Just City-Memphis, Texas Appleseed, and the United Negro College Fund — total about $4.3 million and add to the 20 already awarded, for an estimated sum of $95 million, a spokeswoman for the NFL said. Inspire Change began during the 2018 season with the goal of highlighting the collaborative efforts of the league, players and clubs to exact social change.
Atlanta Falcons Owner and Chairman Arthor Blank said one goal of the grant program is to provide resources for students who are out of school because of the pandemic and otherwise might not have access to essential learning platforms.
“As a league, we are proud to provide financial support for such impactful programs that inspire change, but we know our work as a league and at the team level in the cities where we play is not done and we must continue to support the march against social injustice,” said Blank, who is also a member of the Player-Owner Social Justice Working Group. “This past year opened the eyes of so many to the inequality suffered by many of our fellow brothers and sisters, neighbors and associates. We will continue to stand with our players as we address underlying issues and bring people together to achieve meaningful, positive change.”