ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As part of the Denver Broncos' Inspire Change program, the organization announced on Friday a $200,000-plus donation toward player-designated social justice programs throughout Colorado.
In addition to the funding, over $65,000 was donated by the team and Broncos players throughout the 2021 season, to total $275,000-plus for Inspire Change programs and initiatives.
More than 20 players participated in the review, voting and selection of six Colorado programs and organizations to each receive $35,000 through the team's Social Justice Fund (Black Resilience in Colorado Fund, Center for Work Education & Employment, Colorado Freedom Fund, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, RAWtools, and Sun Valley Community Center). These designated initiatives are in the focus areas of criminal justice reform, economic development, equity, gun violence awareness and prevention, and police and community relations (more information about each recipient organization below).
Broncos Inspire Change was launched in September of 2020 following the team's players, coaches and staff engaging in extensive conversations as an organization. President & CEO Joe Ellis, President of Football Operations John Elway and Head Coach Vic Fangio all participated in the creation of the program, which expanded programming in four key areas: Education, Awareness & Funding, Diversity & Inclusion and Activism.
The grant funding composes the Awareness & Funding component of Broncos Inspire Change. Since 2018, the Broncos have directed more than $1,000,000 to causes and organizations selected by the players to make a difference in the fight for social justice.
During the 2021 season, players worked publicly and behind-the-scenes primarily on the issues of: youth mentorship, bail & criminal justice reform, police & community relations and gun violence awareness & prevention.
The grant announcement comes the day before the team's first-ever Inspire Change game on Saturday, Jan. 8, at Empower Field at Mile High.
The following elements will be incorporated into game day: Inspire Change helmet decals, "Advance Social Justice" and "It Takes All of Us" end-zone stencils, goalpost wraps and banners, along with sideline headwear for all players, coaches and personnel.
BRONCOS SOCIAL JUSTICE FUND 2021 GRANT RECIPIENTS ($35,000 EACH):
Black Resilience in Colorado Fund (Equity)
The Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund directs resources to address systemic racism and its impact on Black communities across the seven-county Metro Denver region. The fund specifically supports nonprofit organizations led by and serving Black communities. The fund issues grants and supports capacity building to help organizations build resources to withstand the current crises and build long-term sustainability. Broncos funding will be used to support organizations led by and serving Black communities.
Center for Work Education & Employment (Economic Development)
This year marks the Center for Work Education and Employment's (CWEE) 40th anniversary of empowering Colorado career seekers to achieve their personal and professional goals. CWEE fosters personal and professional transformation for low-income families through confidence building, customized skills training and career advancement. CWEE achieves its mission by providing evidence-based, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed skill-building, career counseling and job retention support in metro-Denver. CWEE has a network of 100 employer partners and connects participants to quality employment opportunities.
Colorado Freedom Fund (Bail & Criminal Justice Reform)
Colorado Freedom Fund (CFF) is a revolving community bond fund working to end wealth-based detention via legislation, litigation, and direct action (by paying cash bail). CFF helps to free Coloradans from pretrial incarceration, which disproportionately impacts people of color. The funding will be used to cover cash bail for Coloradans.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund (Gun Violence Awareness and Prevention)
Everytown for Gun Safety's Support Fund focuses on awareness and educational work related to gun violence prevention. Contributions help conduct groundbreaking original research, develop evidence-based solutions to America's gun violence crisis, and launch public awareness campaigns to educate advocates, policymakers, and the country at large. Grant funding will be used to support the Students Demand Action program, an initiative led by high school and college students across the country who are working toward ending gun violence in their communities.
RAWtools (Gun Violence Prevention and Police & Community Relations)
RAWtools is a gun violence prevention organization with a mission to "disarm hearts, forge peace, and cultivate justice." In the spirit of turning swords into plowshares, RAWtools turns guns into garden tools and connects people to nonviolent conflict resolution and prevention skills. RAWtools hosts gun donation events throughout the state and will be working in both Denver and Aurora in 2022. In addition to gun donation, RAWtools offers nonviolence workshops throughout the state of Colorado that focus on bystander intervention, de-escalation, restorative justice, and more. Funding will be used to support relevant gun donation events and nonviolence programs locally in Denver and Aurora.
Sun Valley Community Center (Equity & Economic Development)
Located just blocks from Empower Field at Mile High, the Sun Valley Community Center was founded with the intention of creating an inclusive space where diversity in the Sun Valley neighborhood would be honored and celebrated. The mission is to create a safe and supportive place to serve children and families with food and love through weekly dinners for kids and families, in-person and virtual cooking classes, youth employment and enrichment programs, local chef entrepreneurship programming, a twice weekly food pantry, a community grocery store and a local social enterprise restaurant (Sun Valley Kitchen). Programs are designed to nourish, enrich, educate, unite and employ those living in the Sun Valley neighborhood. Broncos funding will be used to support all programs with an emphasis on Youth Employment and Professional Development.