Players, coaches and owners of the New York Jets have committed to donate $800,000 to five non-profit social justice organizations that "aim to combat social inequality and reduce barriers to opportunity," the team announced Thursday.
Players and coaches combined for $200,000 of the commitment, which was matched by the Jets organization. Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson contributed another $250,000 while the remaining funds were donated by the New York Jets Foundation and the NFL Foundation’s Player Matching Grant.
"The conversation has been started–we're talking about social justice in our country like never before," quarterback Josh McCown said. "But now what can we do to step into that conversation and make a difference and actually do something? So we began to look at organizations and talk to players about how we can part of it. The main goal was to be able to raise some funds to go in and support some of these grassroots organizations that are doing good work."
The New York Jets leadership committee, which includes OT Kelvin Beachum, OT Ben Ijalana, DT Steve McLendon and McCown, selected JustLeadershipUSA, The New York Foundling, The Legal Aid Society's Decarceration Project, Breakthrough New York and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration as the recipients of the Jets' donations.
Each organization will receive a $160,000 grant. All of the non-profits selected focus on education, community and police relations, criminal justice reform, or other initiatives such as reducing poverty, racial equality and workforce development.
“We started this program after it became clear that our locker room wanted to make a change,” McCown said. “Collectively we wanted to make an impact in areas that our communities needed the most. With this donation, combined with our other efforts, we hope to support the organizations and resources that aid in the fight against social disparity.”
“Inadequate access to resources for education, poverty reduction, or racial equality has effected every member of our locker room,” Beachum said. “From the communities we came from, to the one we now call home – it is abundantly clear that these organizations are not only needed but are causing direct change in the fight against social inequality.”
The Jets are 4–10 on the season so far. They return to action against the Packers on Sunday, Dec. 23. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.