ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos set new fundraising records Wednesday at their seventh annual Kickoff Luncheon presented by U.S. Bank and Arrow Electronics as they raised more than $250,000 for Denver Broncos Charities.
The amount is a 30% increase from the net proceeds of the 2017 Kickoff Luncheon.
Executive Director of Community Development Allie Pisching said Wednesday's result would help set the tone for the Broncos' charitable efforts during the 2018 season.
"We're always excited for this event today, our Kickoff Luncheon, presented by U.S. Bank and Arrow Electronics because it truly feels like the start of the season," Pisching said. "Going into this, we were on track to beat records from any other luncheon in the past in terms of fundraising, which really sets us up for success for the entire rest of the season. I'll be excited once we finalize the auction totals to share with everyone later what we raised today."
Chris Harris Jr., the Broncos' 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner, was among the players to speak to those in attendance.
Harris — who was followed later by a panel that included Emmanuel Sanders, Von Miller, Case Keenum and Bradley Chubb — expressed his gratitude to those who made Wednesday's event possible.
As emcee Dave Logan said, the rate at which the Broncos give back to the community isn't necessarily the norm around the NFL.
Harris, who clearly wants Denver to continue its tradition of giving, also implored his younger teammates to find a way to make an impact in the community.
"A lot of these kids, they see a jersey, and they want to get to know you," Harris said after the event. "Have those [young] guys just try to go out there and build relationships with these kids out here as much as possible."
Being surrounded by both corporate and community supporters can only help reinforce that message.
"I think for the players, [the luncheon] shows them that they have a lot of people behind them," Pisching said. "They have corporate and community partners that want to see them succeed. It's also a great way to bring the entire roster together and our entire coaching staff to do something positive for the community. Every single community event that we do is voluntary. For the players to be here and to hear from Chris and to see and meet with so many community leaders and members, they know that they have an obligation and a responsibility with the time that they have to give. This sets us up for success in terms of volunteer opportunities later or when a player wants to do something new or different."