During the 2018 NFL season, Patriots players felt compelled to start a fund and collectively support organizations focused on social justice and racial equality.
Four years later, that commitment has become a locker room tradition, with more than $2 million donated to address issues of injustice and inequality in New England since the social justice fund’s inception.
The latest group of beneficiaries for 2022 were surprised recently, receiving the good news personally from Bill Belichick, Devin McCourty, Matthew Slater, David Andrews, Michael Palardy and Deatrich Wise Jr.
"This year we picked our theme to be 'legacy,'" McCourty said on one of the calls. "We wanted to give to organizations that show legacy, show mentorship, helping others who can then go and help somebody else."
The social justice fund's focuses on the areas of education economic development, police relations, and criminal justice to achieve their mission, and has been renewed and funded every season since by players, coaches, and staff. It is then matched – up to $250,000 – by ownership.
Six organizations were selected for this year, with five receiving an $82,500 gift and one receiving $20,000 to be put towards having even more impact in the community.
The fund recipients are:
Coaching4Change brings a diverse corps of college students to under-resourced schools to improve students' learning experience, enhance social emotional learning, create future leaders and serve and mentors. This provides students the individualized attention, care, support, knowledge and empowerment necessary to supplement classroom teaching and help them take control of their futures.
Silver Lining Mentoring
Silver Lining Mentoring empowers youth in foster care to thrive through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills, serving as one of the country's few organizations dedicated exclusively to youth impacted by foster care.
Young Man With a Plan
Young Man With A Plan creates a culture of brotherhood, respect, and achievement among young men of color in Boston in order to improve their post-secondary (college, career, and life) outcomes. YMWAP helps students develop an individualized Success Plan and offers young men opportunities to learn from successful men through career nights, guest educators, alumni panels, enrichment training, and community service.
The Educational Justice Institute
The Educational Justice Institute (TEJI) is an Massachusetts Institute of Technology-based non-profit dedicated to providing transformative learning experiences for incarcerated individuals and university students to improve the quality of their life and future prospects through education.
Smart From the Start
Smart From the Start programming gives children, from birth to age five, is designed to equip children from low-income communities with cognitive, language, physical, and social / emotional assets that facilitate school and life success.
Power Boxing & Fitness
Donald "Deke" Hudson started Dorchester's Power Boxing & Fitness to give youth a safe space to learn discipline, motivation, and help them overcome life's challenges.