Grantees announced for 2021 Lions Inspire Change social justice initiative

Allen Park, Mich.— The Detroit Lions announced today a list of grantees for 2021 who will receive funding generated by the team's social justice initiative, Detroit Lions Inspire Change.

Launched by Lions players and ownership following the conclusion of the 2018 NFL season, Detroit Lions Inspire Change will invest $490,000 in financial support through grants to 11 Metro Detroit organizations next year.

During the 2020 season, Detroit Lions players identified supporting families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with providing resources to individuals in the City of Detroit, as key priorities for the Inspire Change initiative.


"The challenges of this past year have highlighted the social injustices and economic inequalities that still exist in Detroit and throughout our entire country. This year, more than ever, the Detroit Lions have deepened our commitment to playing an active role in paving a path toward a more equitable society. Our players and coaches have utilized their platforms to engage in thoughtful dialogue and have taken tangible action to drive change. We are proud of this collective effort and are committed to carrying this work forward to reduce barriers to opportunity and leveling the playing field in 2021 and beyond."


"While this year has certainly looked different on and off the football field, our responsibility as players to give back and help others has never been greater. We started this initiative two years ago and it's important for us to make sure it continues, particularly in these challenging times for so many people. We as a team are proud of what this initiative stands for and are grateful to have the opportunity to help these organizations right here in Detroit."


"Through Inspire Change, we have been able to impact the local community in a personal way. We understand that as an organization and as human beings, we must do our due diligence to inspire and uplift each other while we can. Our initiative helps those in need and provides a reminder of what society needs us all to do – and that is to give back."

See below for more information on the 2021 grantees.



Henry Ford Health System COVID-19 Emergency Needs Fund

Henry Ford Health System was founded in 1915 by automotive icon Henry Ford and is now one of the leading health care providers in Michigan. It is comprised of hospitals, medical centers and one of the nation's largest group practices, the Henry Ford Medical Group. Henry Ford Health System has been working tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding will support patients, employees or equipment/supply needs caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Motor City Mitten Mission

The Motor City Mitten Mission is dedicated to helping the homeless, the needy, the sick and those striving for a better way of life while educating, partnering and collaborating with a number of other organizations, schools, churches, clubs and businesses. Inspire Change funds will help provide resources for individuals and families that have been impacted by COVID-19.


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. Scholarships will be awarded to top-performing 8th grad students who exhibit leadership inside and outside of the classroom, and are determined by DLA teachers, staff and Lions players.

Detroit Public Safety Foundation - The Brotherhood & Sisterhood

The Detroit Public Safety Foundation is the fiduciary 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, depression and suicide, and learn how to prepare for future employment. Through this funding, four scholarships will be awarded to the year-long program, which includes weekly mentoring sessions facilitated by DPD officers, using curriculum created with support from Detroit Public Schools.

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 were the first NFL team to fund scholarship opportunities for TAPS families.


Detroit Lions Academy

The Detroit Lions Academy will also receive additional funding to provide wraparound services for students to help offset the gaps in learning sustained during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. DJC also facilitates Know Your Rights programming in schools to teach youth about various types of police interactions and what rights they might have in each circumstance.

Detroit Public Schools Foundation

The Detroit Public Schools Foundation works towards generating educational opportunities for its students, families and faculty members. With the guiding principles of integrity, accountability, excellence, collaboration and sustainability, DPSCD's understanding is that every student should be given the support and encouragement needed for collegiate and occupational preparedness. Within the Detroit Public Schools Community District, there are an estimated 1,000 homeless students. Funding from the Detroit Lions will supply basic needs and mental health services to homeless youth as a result of COVID-19.

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.

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, 90 individuals have been provided with employment at the Empowerment Plan as seamstresses and 43,000+ 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.

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 2019-20 school year, over 70 sessions of the Redefine program were held, with over 135 students completing the curriculum.

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.

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