The New York Jets announced today that players, coaches, and ownership are committing $800,000 to five non-profit social justice organizations that aim to combat social inequality and reduce barriers to opportunity. As part of that total, New York Jets players and coaches have committed $200,000, which the organization will match, in addition to a $250,000 donation from New York Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson. Additional funds were donated by the New York Jets Foundation and the NFL Foundation's Player Matching Grant.
"I am extremely proud of our team for their commitment to empowering our communities through their donations and participation in outreach programs," said New York Jets Chairman & CEO Christopher Johnson. "While it was a collective effort within the organization to make this donation possible, the players desire to make a difference fueled this endeavor. We are excited to help position these five organizations to continue their work in our communities."
The New York Jets leadership committee, which was formed in 2017 and includes Kelvin Beachum, Ben Ijalana, Steve McClendon and Josh McCown, selected the following organizations - The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, JustLeadershipUSA, Breakthrough New York, The Legal Aid Society's Decarceration Project, and The New York Foundling. Each organization, which will receive a $160,000 grant, focuses on education, community/police relations, criminal justice reform, or other initiatives including reducing poverty, racial equality and workforce development.
"Inadequate access to resources for education, poverty reduction, or racial equality has effected every member of our locker room," said Kelvin Beachum. "From the communities we came from, to the one we now call home – it is abundantly clear that these organizations are not only needed but are causing direct change in the fight against social inequality."
The players were joined by Mr. Johnson, Jets President Neil Glat, and other team executives on the leadership committee.
In partnership with Mr. Johnson, players have worked as advocates in the social justice conversation through listen and learn tours with New York Governor's office and State Officials. Players also co-authored op-eds focused on improving the criminal justice system.
"We started this program after it became clear that our locker room wanted to make a change," said Josh McCown. "Collectively we wanted to make an impact in areas that our communities needed the most. With this donation, combined with our other efforts, we hope to support the organizations and resources that aid in the fight against social disparity."
In March, the National Football League announced that each club would match player/alumni contributions for the purposes of establishing a fund to support community improvement, social justice and law enforcement relationships.
About the Social Justice Organizations
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) is a membership based nonprofit organization that organizes, advocates, provides direct legal services and raises awareness around the unique issues facing the nearly 10 million Black immigrants, refugees, and their loved ones in the U.S. These challenges include the impact of harsh immigration policies, especially the detention and deportation of Black women, children and youth; the cancellation of vital humanitarian programs; family separation; mass incarceration; and economic and health inequality. We were founded in in 2006 by veteran civil rights activists and clergy that were concerned about a wave of unjust immigration enforcement laws that were gaining popularity nationwide. Our national headquarters is in New York City and we also have chapters or members in Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oakland, DC, and Minneapolis. For more information: https://baji.org/
JustLeadershipUSA was founded in 2014 on the core belief that the most challenging barrier to systemic criminal justice reform in the United States is the absence of powerful and visionary leadership by those who have been directly affected: those closest to the problem are closest to the solution, but furthest from the resources, power, and decision making. Consistent with our mission, JLUSA's ambitious goal is to cut the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030 while building and empowering a network of formerly incarcerated advocates to take the lead. In four short years, JLUSA has become one of the leading national criminal justice advocacy organizations and boldest voices for uncompromising reform. For more information: https://www.justleadershipusa.org/
Breakthrough New York transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers. We also inspire talented young people to enter careers in education through our students-teaching-students model. Our goal is to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities. For more information: http://www.btny.org/
In June 2016, The Legal Aid Society launched the Decarceration Project, a bail litigation and policy initiative created for the sole purpose of fighting against the mass pre-trial detention of New Yorkers – most of whom are Black and Brown. The Project offers comprehensive legal and supportive services to our public defenders to challenge unjust money bail decisions, and partners with grassroots organizations demanding reform statewide. By defending clients in the courtroom and passionately advocating for broader legal reform, the Decarceration Project continues The Legal Aid Society's mission, working on the front-line in the fight for low-income New Yorkers who have suffered in silence for far too long. For more information: http://www.unlockjustice.org/
The New York Foundling reaches 30,000 children and families each year in all five boroughs of New York City, surrounding counties, and Puerto Rico. Established in 1869, our vision is a community where every person, regardless of background or circumstance, enjoys the safe, stable, and supportive relationships needed to reach his or her full potential. To achieve this, we provide evidence-based programs that focus on keeping families together; preventing abuse and neglect; providing academic support for children; and giving people with developmental disabilities the tools and training they need to lead independent lives. For more information, please visit www.nyfoundling.org. Mott Haven Academy Charter School is the first and most advanced school designed for children in the foster care and child welfare system in New York City. Haven Academy's mission is to empower vulnerable children in an educational environment that addresses and reduces the barriers to academic success through the integration of family support services combined with a rigorous academic program. Now in its 10th year of service to the community, graduates continue to be resilient, resourceful, independent scholars who have the skills necessary to reach their full potential and to build a better future. Haven Academy serves Pre-K through 6th Grade and will continue to grow over the next two years to serve through 8th Grade. For more information, please visits HavenAcademy.org. For more information: https://www.nyfoundling.org/program/mott-haven-academy-charter-school/