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NFL Foundation UK Launches to Boost Opportunities for Youth

October 22, 2021 

The National Football League (NFL) has launched the NFL Foundation UK, with the aim of tackling inequality and the lack of opportunities in society by supporting young people aged 12-20 to realise their potential and take ownership of their futures. 

The charity will provide grants, training and equipment to local community organisations across the country that work directly with those most in need to help create a level playing field and ensure equal access to opportunities for underrepresented young people. 

The Foundation launch event was held at Tottenham Community Sports Centre in London on October 14 featuring a tag football showcase with young athletes from the NFL Flag programme. The programme has proven to be a strong engagement tool with diverse and underserved groups - particularly young girls and women - and all groups most likely to suffer from inequality. The NFL Foundation UK will provide funding and Flag training to local community charities that seek positive outcomes for young people around education, employment, community engagement and physical and mental wellbeing. 

During the event, attended by NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the NFL and the Greater London Authority (GLA) announced a commitment of £1 million to the NFL Foundation UK’s work over a two-year period (April 2022 to March 2024). 

Brett Gosper, NFL Head of Europe and UK said: “This is a very important development and further cements the NFL’s commitment to the UK. We have a chance to create opportunities for underserved young people and have already seen the impact our sport can make through successful pilot schemes and several years of operating NFL Flag programmes.” 

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"We can leverage the NFL brand and the sport of American football to make an impact on those who’ve found that existing programmes don’t always work. We will do this by partnering with community organisations best placed to maximise the involvement of the NFL Foundation UK," said double Super Bowl winner Osi Umenyiora.

The Foundation will follow a three-step strategic approach of: 

  • Unite: Bringing diverse young people together in environments that promote belonging 
  • Upskill: Helping young people develop the skills and confidence to understand and achieve their potential 
  • Advocate: Providing young people with pathways and platforms to take ownership of their futures 

While the NFL Foundation UK will expand activities to nationwide projects, the initial NFL/GLA funding will be used by approximately 10 community organisations in London, focusing on mental health and wellbeing, the reduction of serious youth violence and youth unemployment, and character development. 

“Everything we do will be co-created with, and reflective of, the communities we engage with,” continued Umenyiora. “Young people, their futures and their voices, are central to the Foundation’s activities. Long-term sustainability and clear exit routes will be embedded into everything.” 

There will also be a heavy focus on youth advocacy through a Youth Summit that will bring together Foundation beneficiaries and senior leaders from business, politics and the voluntary sector. The Foundation will also provide financial aid to students at the NFL Academy in North London who find living and travelling costs prohibitive to their participation. 

“We know young people have been hit hard by the pandemic. As our city roars back to life, I’m determined to do everything I can to open doors and give young Londoners the positive spaces and opportunities they deserve," said Khan.

"This new join £1 million investment from City Hall and the NFL will use the power of sport and communities to bring young people – particularly women and girls and those from diverse backgrounds - together; helping them to develop new skills and working to empower them to be everything they want to be.”  

The NFL Foundation UK’s strategy was created by our sister consultancy, thinkBeyond. 


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