photo: Andriy Blokhin/shutterstock
It’s no secret that philanthropy is a bigger part of some professional sports teams’ culture than others. Charitable giving is a way for teams to get good publicity and give back to the local community that comes out to cheer them on. It’s also a way to bring attention to issues that are personally significant for players and staff. And with some high-profile personalities involved, this giving can serve as a powerful amplifier.
One franchise that we’ve been following for the past couple years is the Philadelphia Eagles because unlike some teams, this one has seemed to strike a balance between traditional signed auction memorabilia and sticking to a philanthropic strategy with targeted goals.
Here are three ways this team’s giving has evolved over the last few years and what it means for local nonprofits.
Growth from Positive Results
With the Philadelphia Eagles’ Eagles Care program now going into its sixth year, the team’s philanthropic reach has been steadily growing over time. Although the Eagles choose a new set of nonprofits to work with each year, the big idea behind these partnerships is that they are long-term commitments, not just a season-long fling.
The team sees each partner as an extension of the Eagles family, continuing to work together in future years on community outreach events and using newfound strengths to connect with future Eagles Care partners. Thus far, there are 23 local charitable organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region that have participated with the team through Eagles Care.
A More Funding Targeted Demographic
Something that we noted about Eagles Care in the past was how the program went beyond the typical children and youth demographic that is targeted by most sports teams to fund a wider variety of causes. For example, in 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles were focusing their philanthropy on music education, food stability, healthcare, strategic development, and youth empowerment. But this year, it seems that Eagles Care has narrowed its focus a bit in terms of the number of nonprofits supported and the causes they work in.
In the past, Eagles Care chose five new nonprofits to work with for the football season, but now that annual number is down to three. Also, all three Eagles Care partners for 2018 aim to benefit children and youth. The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance assists sexually abused children in Philadelphia, Variety works with children and young adults who have disabilities, and Laurel House offers a variety of domestic violence recovery services to children, families, and individuals in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Something else that we noted in the past about Eagles Care is that it was a program that didn’t haven an easily accessible application process to get involved with the team’s philanthropy. Now that has changed as well. Transparency and accessibility are always top requests on grantee feedback forms, and it seems that Eagles Care now has the momentum and local influence to reach new audiences.
The team posts a form on its website that local nonprofits can complete and email to the team’s new EAC program coordinator, Dominique Pinto. In general, Eagles Care looks to support organizations that have budgets under $10 million. The team philanthropy provides nonprofits with a financial contribution, as well as player/cheerleader/mascot appearances, staff training, and in-kind donations. We expect the next Eagles Care application period to close in April 2019.