Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will provide another $13 million over four years to the organization he founded in 2015 to help combat systemic racism.
The amount pledged Friday will push to $30 million the commitment made by Ross since he established RISE (the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) in 2015.
“Growing up in Detroit, I saw firsthand what racism did to tear apart our community, destroy lives and further inequality," Ross said in a statement. "I started RISE based on the belief that our nation must address the scourge of racism directly to achieve true unity. Now more than ever, our mission and the need for this work is clear.”
RISE's Board of Directors includes top executives from around the sports world, including the commissioners of the four major sports — Roger Goodell, Adam Silver, Rob Manfred and Gary Bettman.
Also on the board are Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Maverick Carter, CEO of SpringHill Entertainment and UNINTERRUPTED.
“In 2015, Stephen and I had several candid conversations about race; specifically, if people are born racist or if it’s learned behavior," said Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. "We both agreed that no one is born racist and that we needed to educate the younger generation if we were going to create change.
"That’s when Steve created RISE and I joined the board. RISE has had a real impact over the past five years and I commend Stephen for continuing to give his time and resources to combat systemic racism and continuing to move this fight forward.”
Per the press release announcing Ross' additional funding, over the next four years, RISE will continue empowering inclusive leadership and expanding partnerships across the wider sports community with organizations such as NASCAR, National Lacrosse League, PGA of America, Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, United States Tennis Association and USA Track & Field.
It also will enhance its Champions of Change activation, an innovative multi-sensory experience that educates fans on the impact of sports on civil rights, evokes empathy by sharing the athlete’s story and perspective on race and inspires fans to take action in advocating for racial equity.
“During this time of national unrest, many individuals have stepped up to being part of the solution," said Troy Vincent, the NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations and former Dolphins and Eagles cornerback. "Stephen continues to dedicate his time, resources and vision, as he has for decades, in an unwavering commitment to ending racism in partnership with the leadership, heart and influence of athletes globally."
Before the announcement Friday, the Dolphins had not made a statement as an organization regarding the national unrest over racial injustice and police brutality. Head Coach Brian Flores did release a statement May 30 that earned widespread praise.