The Jets announced Tuesday a $1 million donation to four partner organizations as part of the team's social justice, inclusion and diversity efforts. These organizations - All Stars Project, Innocence Project, New York Urban League and Year Up – all share the goal of reducing barriers and creating opportunities for individuals in need.
As part of the partnerships, each organization will receive $250,000. Additionally, New York Jets players, coaches, and staff will have the opportunity to volunteer their time and expertise on various upcoming projects with each organization.
In August, the team released a video from players and leadership declaring the Jets' intentions to affect change in their community. Since then, the Jets Social Justice, Diversity and Inclusion Team, along with club ownership, senior executives, and player leadership, identified four focus areas in which to make an impact: poverty, race equality and diversity and inclusion, criminal justice reform, police-community relations, access to education and healthcare.
The Social Justice, Diversity and Inclusion Team (SJDIT) represents the entire organization and helps steer the Jets as it relates to the process and execution of the club's social justice efforts as well as internal diversity and inclusion practices. The group is comprised of employees from across business and football staffs and each serves a 1-year term. SJDIT meets regularly to evaluate and provide feedback on issues surrounding the organization as well as the team's social justice outreach.
In the future, the team plans to identify additional organizations to partner with, engage in meaningful conversations with community members, and identify legislation to help enact.
"We wanted to contribute to these organizations and help push our community forward," Jets President Hymie Elhai said. "It is our hope through these partnerships that we can positively affect the access, equity and rights of those in need."
The All Stars Project (ASP) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1981, whose mission is to transform the lives of youth and poor communities using the developmental power of performance, in partnership with caring adults. Each year young people participate in its award-winning programs including the Development School for Youth, Youth Onstage!, the All Stars Talent Show Network and Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids. They are joined by volunteers who lead workshops, sponsor internships, and serve as development coaches. To get involved visit www.allstars.org/join.
Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids is the ASP's police-community relations program founded in 2006 and run in partnership with the New York City Police Department since 2011. The All Stars and grassroots community leader Gloria Strickland expanded the program to Newark with the support of Mayor Ras Baraka, the Newark Police Department and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2017.
ASP operates nationally with volunteers and partnerships in over 20 states. Program work is most focused in five regions – New York City; Northern NJ; Chicago; Dallas; and the San Francisco Bay Area.
"The All Stars Project is deeply grateful to the New York Jets for its generous support," Gabrielle Kurlander, CEO of the All Stars Project, said. "We're proud to be in the company of our fellow recipients as we all work to address poverty, challenge racism, and improve police-community relations. Thanks to the Jets, our Operation Conversation approach, which uses the tools of performance to impact thousands of lives in hundreds of communities, will be able to expand its reach. Creating programs where Americans from all walks of life can listen and empathize with one another, including cops and kids, has become essential. We're thrilled to have the Jets on our team."
Founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, the Innocence Project works to free the staggering number of people in prison for crimes they did not commit and to reform the systems that are responsible for their unjust imprisonment. The Innocence Project is affiliated with the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.
"The Innocence Project is honored and deeply grateful for this generous donation from the New York Jets," Christina Swarns, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, said. "This gift shows a powerful commitment to justice and fairness that will help us continue our work freeing the innocent and reforming the systems that allow wrongful convictions to happen. It has been truly inspiring to see the Jets and the sports community across the nation step up to support and drive the change we need."
For the past 100 years, New York Urban League has inspired, influenced and ignited over one million Black people to achieve their highest potential. They are committed to elevating the circumstances that create inequalities in the lives of Black New York by headlining the issues and inspiring actions to eradicate them. At our core we believe that
This guiding principle drives steadfast work of enabling African Americans and other underserved communities to secure equity. Through direct service delivery, advocacy, referrals, community capacity building, information dissemination and technical assistance, the League accomplishes its mission to empower communities and change lives. For more information, visit www.nyul.org.
"Over the past century, the New York Urban League has worked diligently to ensure that underserved communities secured a first-class education and economic self-reliance," Arva Rice, President and CEO of New York Urban League, said. "The recent pandemic and social upset, reminds us of why our work is so important and needed. As we prepare for the next 100 years of service, systematic and institutional racism continue to play a role in determining the future for African Americans in New York City. We are excited to partner with the New York Jets to address the social justice that still exist. The NY Jets partnership will allow us to launch our Diversity and Inclusion Lab and ensure all New Yorkers have access to career opportunities and economic mobility."
Year Up's mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education.
Year Up is a national nonprofit that provides young adults with the skills, experience, and support to reach their full potential. 90 percent of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing the program, with average starting salaries of $42,000/year. In 2018, the federally-sponsored Pathways for Advancing Careers and Education (PACE) evaluation of Year Up showed a 53% increase in initial earnings for young adults randomly assigned to Year Up compared with similar young adults in a control group—the largest impact on earnings reported to date for a workforce program tested in a randomized controlled trial.
"Thanks to generous support from the New York Jets, Year Up New York | New Jersey will be able to serve even more young people in the region who have the talent and motivation to succeed but lack access to opportunity," Nadine Sylvester-Crammer, Year Up New York | New Jersey Site Director, said.. "The ongoing crisis has had a huge disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx young adults, and this grant will help empower them to launch meaningful careers at top companies, as we continue working to advance racial and economic justice in corporate America."