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Grantees announced for 2020 Detroit Lions Inspire Change social justice initiative

Allen Park, Mich.— The Detroit Lions announced today a list of grantees for 2020 who will receive funding generated by the team's social justice initiative, Detroit Lions Inspire Change.

Launched by Lions players, Owner and Chairman Martha Firestone Ford and Head Coach Matt Patricia following the conclusion of the 2018 NFL season, Detroit Lions Inspire Change will invest nearly $600,000 in financial support through grants to nine Metro Detroit organizations next year.


"Guys are more involved after the launch of Inspire Change. Every Tuesday, you see guys physically out in the community and spending their free time with those in need. The financial aspect of giving back is obviously very important, but there's another aspect to it of actually giving your time and being around to show your support. Guys come to this team from all different socio-economic backgrounds, and we come to this city and it becomes our home. It's important for us as members of this community to give back – to go and physically be there for others."


"We chose organizations that were right here in Detroit, right in our reach, where we could see the impact that it's having within the organization and in the city. Over the last year, we wanted to see the fruits of what we gave financially and also our time. We want to spend time with these organizations and people that we're trying to help. This is something we can stay connected to and monitor the progress along the way."

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Detroit Lions Academy

The Detroit Lions Academy enrolls students in grades 6-8 that have faced challenges learning and engaging in traditional education settings. Students attending the Detroit Lions Academy directly benefit from the Detroit Lions' active presence within the community, including mentorship from the Detroit Lions Women's Association and players, gaining first-hand experiences and participating in activities and programs facilitated through other Detroit Lions Charities partners.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to those grieving the loss of a loved one who died while serving in our Armed Forces or as a result of his or her service. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones. TAPS also conducts regional survivor seminars for adults and youth programs at locations across the country, as well as retreats and expeditions around the world. The organization has assisted more than 85,000 surviving families, casualty officers and caregivers. The Lions are the first NFL team to fund scholarship opportunities for TAPS families.

Detroit Public Safety Foundation - The Brotherhood & Sisterhood

The Detroit Public Safety Foundation is the fiduciary and applicant for the Brotherhood & Sisterhood programs. The Detroit Police Department, in conjunction with Detroit Public Schools Community District, organized and designed the Brotherhood & Sisterhood program to promote positive outcomes for teens living in extremely challenging environments. The program empowers teens, ages 14-19, to build positive self-esteem, avoid violence/sexual assault, avoid depression and suicide and learn how to prepare for future employment. The year-long program includes weekly mentoring sessions facilitated by DPD officers, using curriculum created with support from Detroit Public Schools, for students at seven participating high schools.


Downtown Boxing Gym

Since 2007, the Downtown Boxing Gym has been teaching valuable life lessons to students growing up in Detroit's toughest neighborhoods – inside and outside the classroom and boxing ring. By providing mentorship, tutoring, enrichment programs, college and career readiness, socio-emotional skills building and basic needs support (transportation and food), the organization creates a lasting impact that ripples out across the community. The DBG currently serves more than 150 students between the ages of 8 and 18. Students come from 30 different zip codes and 57 schools across Detroit and nearby suburbs.

HAVEN – Redefine Program

As Oakland County's only comprehensive program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, HAVEN provides shelter, counseling, advocacy and educational programming to nearly 30,000 people each year. Funding from the Detroit Lions is utilized to implement the Redefine program in Oakland and Wayne Counties. This program is a 16-hour leadership development course for high school and college-aged young men to equip them with the skills to help end gender-based violence and to create healthier and happier emotional lives. During the 2018-2019 school year, 172 young men completed the Redefine program. 

The Empowerment Plan

The Empowerment Plan aims to elevate families from the generational cycle of homelessness by hiring single parents from local homeless shelters and providing them training and full-time employment manufacturing sleeping bag coats for the homeless population. The organization also provides necessary resources for the seamstresses to continue their education, find permanent housing and regain their independence. Since 2012, 80 individuals have been provided with employment at the Empowerment Plan as seamstresses and 35,000+ coats have been distributed internationally. The EMPWR Coat is a water-resistant jacket, which can transform into a sleeping bag and be worn as an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. The Empowerment Plan works with community organizations to provide GED courses, counseling, financial literacy classes and professional development seminars for their employees.

Pure Heart Foundation

Pure Heart Foundation was designed to break the cycle of generational incarceration by providing wrap around services that will strategically benefit the child of an incarcerated parent and family. Through Pure Heart, each child of an incarcerated parent has a chance to be heard, supported and encouraged to navigate life despite their circumstance. Pure Heart Foundation has developed a program that will ensure children of incarcerated parents will perform at their best capacity and become fitting citizens in our society.

Detroit Justice Center

Detroit Justice Center (DJC) is an innovative non-profit organization working alongside communities to create economic opportunities, transform the justice system and promote equitable and just cities. DJC provides desperately-needed legal services to Detroiters impacted by the criminal justice system – helping clients remain out of jail, hold onto jobs and stable housing and keep their families intact. Recognizing the need for systemic solutions, DJC also runs a Just Cities Lab that promotes restorative justice, divestment from jails and prisons and reinvestment in community safety and well-being.



CATCH is a children's charity founded in 1987 by then Detroit Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson that raises money to help improve the quality of life for pediatric patients and their families at Children's Hospital of Michigan and Henry Ford Hospital. Through a series of corporate-sponsored annual events and a year-end giving program, the charity funds items and services that parents cannot afford, are not provided by the hospitals or not covered by insurance. Since its founding three decades ago, CATCH's funding to help children has surpassed $7.5 million, including a record $467,000 to hospitals last year.

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