Lions announce launch of player-driven Social Justice Initiative

Allen Park, Mich. – The Detroit Lions announced today an initial $600,000 commitment from players and Owner and Chairman Martha Firestone Ford toward the launch of Detroit Lions Inspire Change, a new social justice initiative in the City of Detroit.

Funds generated for the team’s social justice initiative will focus on three community pillars as determined by the players – Scholarship Funding, Social-Educational Programs and Medical Aid/Health Assistance.

STATEMENT FROM LIONS OWNER AND CHAIRMAN MARTHA FIRESTONE FORD

“Expanding upon our commitment to influencing social justice reform was a primary goal for our organization this season. With the support of our players, who over the years have demonstrated a longstanding devotion to serving this community in which they live and work, we have successfully established the foundation of what we expect to be a multi-year platform in Detroit. I am grateful for the players’ participation in these important discussions happening right now in our country.”

STATEMENT FROM LIONS LB DEVON KENNARD

“Social justice to us means equality amongst all types of people, no matter your race, religion or what you believe in. There has been a lot of talk about awareness and I think we as NFL players are beyond that now. It’s about action and what we are going to do, and this initiative is the start of something impactful. There is no greater place than our own backyard here in Detroit.”

STATEMENT FROM LIONS HEAD COACH MATT PATRICIA

“I am extremely proud of our players for their hard work and collaboration all season in bringing this initiative together. Our locker room is a microcosm of society and the powerful platform with which we are gifted brings a responsibility to make a difference in our communities. Through this initiative, our team has an opportunity to truly make a difference in the City of Detroit.”

Below is the list of recipients that will receive contributions from the Detroit Lions Inspire Change initial commitment in 2019. The initiative will continue to evolve in 2020 and beyond.

For more information, visit: inspirechange.detroitlions.com.

SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to all 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 24/7 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 Youth Violence Prevention Initiative: The Brotherhood & Sisterhood

Detroit Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (DYVPI), a youth development arm of the Detroit Police Department (DPD), in addition to DPD precincts 5, 6, 8 and 9, supports Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) mission, vision and priorities relative to educating and empowering students to build a stronger Detroit. The newly established youth summit titled, The Brotherhood & Sisterhood: No Boundaries Male/Female Youth Engagement Program will support DPSCD’s priorities of transforming culture, pursuing excellence, service and tenacity while building resilience in young men and women. Participating schools include Denby High School, Osborn High School, East English Village Preparatory Academy, Henry Ford High School, Mumford High School, Pershing High School and Cody High School.

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-time experiences and participating in activities and programs facilitated through other Detroit Lions Charities partners.

SOCIAL-EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

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.

Covenant House Of Michigan

Covenant House Michigan is a nonprofit organization that provides hope to homeless, runaway and at-risk youth ages 18-24. The organization provides shelter, educational and vocational programs, as well as other support services, to help overcome hurdles such as homelessness, unemployment, inadequate education, violence, drugs and gangs. The goal is to redirect them onto a path toward meaningful and successful adulthood.

Detroit Public Schools Foundation’s Water Hydration Station Project

In 2018, the Detroit Public Schools Community School District announced their long-term solution to provide clean drinking water for more than 55,000 students and staff in 106 schools. Funds will be used to support the installation of these hydration systems which offer filtration technology designed to cool water and remove lead, copper and other contaminants. Upon completion of the project, DPSCD will be one of the nation’s largest public school districts with hydration stations in all school buildings.

MEDICAL AID/HEALTH ASSISTANCE

CATCH Charity For Children

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 sick, injured and needy children in Detroit. 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 and 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.

Mariners Inn

Founded in 1925 by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, Mariners Inn is a nationally acclaimed, licensed, full-service treatment center providing substance abuse treatment, shelter, and supportive services to Southeast Michigan’s homeless men. Mariners Inn provides 24 hour residential substance abuse treatment for adult homeless men of Southeastern Michigan, in a professional, compassionate, therapeutic environment conducive to reducing their problems of drug and alcohol addiction, thereby promoting their return to health, independence, and increased self-worth.

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