ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After listening to the players and engaging in extensive conversations as an organization, the Denver Broncos have launched a series of social justice initiatives through a new Broncos Inspire Change program.
This program was put together with significant input from the players, who shared their priorities during a team meeting and a series of group breakout sessions at UCHealth Training Center on Aug. 27. President & CEO Joe Ellis, President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway and Head Coach Vic Fangio all participated in the creation of Broncos Inspire Change. They will work hand-in-hand with the players, coaches and staff to create meaningful change in our community and organization.
"Our team has had a number of powerful, honest and at times uncomfortable conversations recently," Ellis said. "Listening to the players—and watching what has taken place around the country—has helped us grow as an organization. I commend the players, John Elway, Vic Fangio and our staff for working together to take action and inspire change."
Through Broncos Inspire Change, the Broncos are committed to meaningful change—both in the community and within the organization—by adding and expanding programming in four key areas: Education, Awareness & Funding, Diversity & Inclusion, and Activism.
Budgeted time in the football schedule for a weekly "Power Hour" meeting every Tuesday dedicated to player-led social justice causes; New initiatives in the areas of youth education (partnering with RISE) and mentorship (Empowerment Summit Digital Learning Series).
Awareness & Funding
Created "We Stand For" campaign supporting player-selected causes and organizations making a difference in our communities; In addition to a $250,000 annual contribution from the Broncos toward player-led social justice work, GM John Elway has pledged to personally donate $100,000 this year to player-designated police reform priorities locally.
Diversity & Inclusion
Newly formed Broncos Diversity & Inclusion Committee will focus on diversity and inclusion both inside and outside the organization; Team has committed to adding a full-time, senior-level position dedicated to diversity and inclusion as well as an annual Career Combine designed for minority candidates.
The full use of Empower Field at Mile High was offered as a polling location and/or a Ballot Box location for the November 3 General Election to the Office of the Secretary of State and the Denver Elections Division, which is exploring the best possible use for the stadium; Broncos to provide regular opportunities for players to engage with key local leaders and promote meaningful policy reform.
At a team meeting on Tuesday, the Broncos introduced the formalized plan to the players, coaches and football staff. Please see below for some detailed information about the team's commitment to social justice in the four key areas of Broncos Inspire Change.
The Broncos have adjusted their weekly football schedule to include a one-hour session—titled "Power Hour"—every Tuesday to discuss social justice priorities, initiatives and current events.
"Power Hour" will invite community leaders, government officials, policy makers, first responders and others to promote dialogue and discussion with the players each week in these voluntary sessions.
Potential topics include: Police Brutality and Reform, Voting Rights, Justice, Legislation Process, Candidates and Issues, Curriculum Reform in Schools, Educational Gaps, Bond/Bail Reform, Juvenile Justice System, School to Prison Pipeline, Community Policing, Mental Health Experts, and De-escalation Tactics.
The Broncos will launch new initiatives in the areas of youth education and mentorship.
In partnership with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), the Broncos will launch a multi-week leadership program for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver teenagers to have important and often difficult conversations about race, perceptions and stereotypes. Youth and program leaders will join a RISE facilitator for weekly online sessions that cover one topic each week for eight consecutive weeks.
Topics include: Identity, Perspective Talking, Privilege, Sports as a Vehicle for Social Change, Civic Engagement, Leadership and Goal Setting (two weeks). The program will launch in September with staff and facilitator training sessions scheduled for Sept. 10 and Oct. 1.
To provide opportunities and resources for female high school student-athletes, the Broncos will expand their annual Empowerment Summit to a digital version, "The Empowerment Summit Digital Learning Series," for personal and professional development. Serving those in Colorado and beyond, this series will equip young women with skills and tools that benefit them in the future while exposing them to strong, female role models.
The series will include regular "(EM)POWER Hour" conversations with female leaders in our community and the Broncos' family.
AWARENESS & FUNDING
Launching Week of 1 of the regular season, "We Stand For" provides Broncos players, coaches and staff opportunities to support causes and organizations making a difference in the fight for social justice.
Inspired by the leadership of Broncos defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and his wife, Ryann, "We Stand For" gives players, coaches and staff the ability to use the club's digital platforms and financial resources to support the non-profit of their choice in its social justice work. Several players have already filmed "We Stand For" segments and elected to direct monetary contributions to the organization of their choice from the Denver Broncos Social Justice Fund.
"We Stand For" stories and videos will be featured on the Denver Broncos' social media channels, team website, television and radio broadcasts, and on the scoreboard at Empower Field at Mile High.
Through the Denver Broncos Social Justice Fund, the organization has committed to fund at least $250,000 annually to causes and organizations selected by the players.
Broncos players will have access to financial resources to impact areas such as racial equality, criminal justice reform, poverty, education, community/police relations and workforce/economic development.
Of the $250,000 club fund, the Broncos have earmarked $150,000 to support the players' individual causes as part of their "We Stand For" program. The organization has earmarked $100,000 to support Colorado causes and organizations as voted upon by the team's Social Justice Committee, which is voluntary and open to all players.
John Elway has also personally committed to donate $100,000 this year to player-designated police reform areas of mental health, training and body camera resources for local officers. At a two-and-a-half hour roundtable discussion on Aug. 31 at UCHealth Training Center between Broncos players and local police chiefs/sheriffs (Denver, Aurora, Arapahoe County, Douglas County and Greenwood Village), these areas of police reform were identified as priorities for the players.
Since 2017, the Broncos have directed more than $500,000 to causes and organizations selected by the players to make a difference in the fight for social justice.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
To expand their ongoing focus on diversity and inclusion both inside the organization and in the surrounding community, the Broncos are forming a Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
With representation from across the organization in both football and business departments, the Broncos' Diversity & Inclusion Committee will meet regularly throughout the year to coordinate efforts in expanding diversity, equity and inclusion. This includes a focus on recruitment and the hiring process, training, the overall workplace environment, and community outreach.
The Broncos' Diversity & Inclusion Committee will be responsible for hosting regular organization-wide programming and training for staff and players. This includes Town Halls moderated by third-party experts, anti-racism and unconscious bias training, and in-depth focus groups on race and gender.
The Broncos will host an annual virtual Career Combine to provide diverse college students exposure and networking opportunities within the organization.
Specifically targeting diverse up-and-coming college students and minorities, including Historically Black College & University (HBCU) students, the Broncos Career Combine will provide candidates an opportunity to network with Broncos executives and learn more about internship, full-time and job shadowing opportunities within the organization.
The Broncos have committed to adding a full-time, senior-level position focused on the areas of Diversity & Inclusion.
Working within the organization's Human Resources Department, this new hire will collaborate with all Broncos leadership to direct the organization's overall diversity, inclusion and equality strategy.
The Broncos will serve as leaders in the state of Colorado for voter registration and voter education initiatives.
As an official voter registration drive organization and through their Broncos Country Votes initiative, the Broncos are encouraging all eligible Coloradoans to register to vote and participate in local, state and national elections (www.denverbroncos.com/vote).
The full use of Empower Field at Mile High was offered as a polling location and/or a Ballot Box location for the November 3 General Election to the Office of the Secretary of State and the Denver Elections Division, which is exploring the best possible use for the stadium. Both UCHealth Training Center and Empower Field at Mile High will be closed Nov. 3 to give employees time to vote.
The Broncos will dedicate a specific amount of meeting time to ensure that all interested players and coaches are registered to vote and have a voting game plan for the General Election. This includes the team's community development department registering players and coaches on-site if needed.
The Broncos organization will support the players in advocating for policy and legislative reform while providing opportunities for them to have audiences with key leaders.
Using their community influence and local relationships, the Broncos will seek every opportunity to provide players an audience and contact with key leaders to affect change and expand understanding of legislative procedures and issues.
In addition to the local police chief/sheriff roundtable on Aug. 31, Broncos players have recently visited with Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold.
The Broncos have also invited Denise Maes, the Public Policy Director for Colorado's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, to speak with the players to give them an opportunity to learn more about policy reform. Maes was involved with SB 20-217, the bipartisan law enforcement integrity act that several Broncos players supported prior to its passing in June.
The organization is committed to joining the players and engaging these community leaders—and more—in ongoing dialogue.