NFL owners are beginning to donate millions through their foundations to help communities in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, spearheaded by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, announced Friday nearly $5.4 million in funding will go toward recovery assistance. Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and his foundation announced a $2.65 million donation and Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti is donating $1 million.
Blank donates to myriad of efforts
The funds, spearheaded by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, will go toward organizations providing support throughout Georgia, where he also owns MLS club Atlanta United, and Montana, where he owns two ranches.
"As a Family Foundation we have always believed that it is the power of many that will make the greatest impact on the most pressing issues in our society," Blank said in a statement. "This is that moment — to join together to truly harness the power of all of us to address a challenge that knows no boundaries and has no precedent in our lifetimes."
The donation is one of the largest commitments by a sports team owner. The pandemic has forced the suspension of all professional athletic activities, though NFL training camp is not scheduled to begin until July. MLS began its season at the start of March and is currently on pause.
Blank family gives $5M to coronavirus response
The foundation will give $5 million to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund established by the United Way and Community Foundation. The funds will go toward addressing food insecurity, housing stability, medical supports and childcare as well as other pressing concerns.
Hourly workers at stadiums, restaurants and other places have lost income due to the cancellations made in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Hands On Atlanta will receive $100,000 in an effort to support public schools as they switch to virtual tutoring and find ways to supply children with the meals they usually get at school. It will pay for 31 AmeriCorps members.
“Without this funding, Hands On Atlanta was at risk of losing these positions due to school closures,” the foundation wrote in a statement.
The Atlanta Police Foundation will receive $100,000 and Mercedes-Benz Stadium will donate approximately $100,000 worth of food (3.5 tons) to provide more than 2,310 meals to six nonprofit groups. Arenas began offloading their food after the leagues were suspended to help local food banks.
Native American, Latino communities get grants
The foundation is giving a $50,000 grant to Hopa Mountain to deliver necessities as the Native American and Latino communities in the state have been displaced due to the closing of hospitality venues.
A $50,000 grant will aid the Human Resource Development Council in helping find those dealing with homelessness a place to stay since winter centers are closing early. Additionally, a $25,000 donation will go toward the Gallatin Valley Food Bank to increase inventory with a spike in demand expected, and another $20,000 will go to the Livingston Food Resource Center. A grant of $20,000 will go toward PSAs for radio, TV and social media to give accurate information on the pandemic.
Panthers owner donates more than $2.6M
The David A. Tepper Foundation made a $1 million donation to the COVID-19 Response Fund in the Carolinas to support the most vulnerable members of the community. Another $1 million will go toward the health organizations in a “needs fund.”
And another $650,000 will go toward the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. It is being used to purchase 6,000 mobile hotspots with six months of prepaid internet services to help students who don’t have home internet access.
Ravens owners donates $1M to non-profits
The Ravens and The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation are donating $1 million to support four non-profits. The Fund for Educational Excellence, the United Way of Central Maryland, the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Maryland Food Bank are each receiving $250,000.
"We chose to donate through these four organizations because we are confident they will apply our funds quickly and directly to people in need,” Ravens president Dick Cass said in a statement.
"We have worked closely with each of these organizations, and the life-altering work being done by them is incredible. We salute their dedication and the manner in which they continue to inspire and serve so many people."
The organizations will provide resources to students, including free breakfast and lunch, as well as resources to those experiencing the negative effects of the pandemic such as lost wages and food insecurity.
Sports gets involved in relief efforts
Blank is the latest sports figure to announce a donation to the relief efforts for those dealing with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced funding for hourly employees at the Mavs’ arena the night the NBA was suspended.
Athletes from all sports have since stepped up in a myriad of ways to help. Keep track of the uplifting news here.
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