After navigating the monumental challenges of the global pandemic, the Denver Broncos have been named a finalist for ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. The nomination carries considerable gravitas.
The Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year award is given to a sports franchise that demonstrates how teamwork can create a measurable impact on a community or cause. As a finalist for the second straight year, the Broncos join the Atlanta Dream (WNBA), New York City Football Club (MLS), and Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) as nominees for the prestigious honor in 2021.
Social justice initiatives and volunteering over 850 hours through 744 different engagements marked the Broncos out for the award. But while president and CEO Joe Ellis was quick to thank those involved, unsurprisingly, he also pointed to the unique challenges the last year have presented.
Ellis provided a statement.
“During such a challenging and unprecedented year, we were inspired by the dedication of so many within our organization impacting the areas of COVID-19 relief, social justice, youth development, and more.
"I want to specifically applaud the players and our community development staff – Allie Engelken, Liz Jeralds, Bobby Mestas and Katie Shuster- for adapting our outreach in a truly meaningful and thoughtful way. When it was needed most, our organization worked together and rose to the occasion by providing such remarkable support of the community.”
As a finalist, the Broncos Charities automatically receive a $25,000 grant to support continued humanitarian efforts. Should the Broncos win the award, the team will be eligible to receive a $100,000 grant from ESPN that will add to the pot of over $1.5 million on average the team invests into supporting the local community.
What exactly did the Broncos do to earn this prestigious nomination? Quite a lot. Here's an impressive list of outreach programs:
- Adding and expanding a series of social justice initiatives through the team’s Inspire Change program
- Contributing more than $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts
- Being the only professional sports team to fully fund its own branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, giving 14,000+ under-resourced youth a home away from home since 2003
- Investing $300,000 in the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club’s renovations and reopening
- Supporting 35 local nonprofits via the club’s annual Community Grant Program
- Conducting the Staff Community Service Series, featuring in-person and remote monthly volunteer opportunities for Broncos staff and families
Even long after the passing of legendary owner Pat Bowlen, the Broncos continue to carry the torch of humanitarian dedication and service, which he instilled in the very DNA of the franchise.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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