The Philadelphia Eagles’ long-standing commitment to helping address social issues in its community has earned the organization recognition as Sport Team of the Year by the international social change organization, Beyond Sport.
The Eagles, who had been named finalists for the global competition for the second year in a row, were announced as the winners during the awards ceremony today in Cape Town, South Africa.
"The Philadelphia Eagles' social inclusion, education, and sustainability efforts triggered the Beyond Sport Awards Judges to acknowledge that this NFL team is setting the standard when it comes to social impact, paving the way for other teams around the globe to do the same," said Nick Keller, Founding CEO of Beyond Sport.
The team was nominated based on three of its signature programs:
• Eagles Youth Partnership, which provides eye care, reading support and mentoring programs to more than 50,000 children a year.
|Eagles Youth Partnership Executive Director Sarah Martinez-Helfman holds the Beyond Sport Team of the Year Award at the ceremony in South Africa|
• Tackling Breast Cancer, which has raised awareness of an important health issue and raised more than $1.6 million for cancer research and care.
• Go Green, which has made the Eagles a leader in alternative energy and environmentally responsible business practices.
“For more than 75 years, the Eagles have been an important part of Philadelphia,” said Eagles Owner and CEO Jeffrey Lurie. “We live in a community of incredible determination and heart, and that’s the attitude we bring to making a positive difference in the community where we live.”
Said Eagles co-owner Christina Weiss Lurie: “Being a sports fan is a shared experience, and teams have the opportunity to bring people together. When we use that sense of community to bring awareness to important causes, and to help our neighbors in need, the Eagles and our fans are doing something very special together.”
“The Eagles community programs truly represent the best of what Philadelphia has to offer,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “In particular, the Eagles Youth Partnership's reach into our communities goes well beyond celebrities on the football field; their leadership on issues that improve the lives of our children is worthy of international recognition and praise. They are true heroes who have earned this honor. Once again, the entire Eagles organization has given the City of Philadelphia a reason to be proud.”
“The Philadelphia Eagles organization has been a model NFL franchise by doing great things both on and off the field,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “This well-deserved recognition reflects the team’s commitment to its community. We salute Christina and Jeffrey Lurie and the hard work of the entire organization which understands the impact it can make well beyond what happens on the field.”
Eagles president Joe Banner singled out a large group of contributors for recognition.
“It’s amazing what a unifying force community work can be, and how generous Eagles fans are with their time and effortm," Banner said. "To everyone who has made this possible, we say, 'Thank you.'”
Banner added: “Employees, players and coaches have given so much of their time to these programs, and so have doctors, nurses and educators associated with the Eagles Youth Partnership and its outstanding leader, Sarah Martinez-Helfman. Team sponsors and partners have contributed time and money and terrific ideas to the cause for more than a decade. With the help of a lot of people, we’ve tried to make a lot of difference.”
The award winners were selected by a Beyond Sport judging panel chaired by former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair. Entries from teams in more than 130 countries were received in the competition in several categories. Sport Team of the Year is considered the premiere category of the awards.
Beyond Sport defines itself as “a global organization that promotes, develops and supports the use of sports to create positive social change across the world.” At a summit meeting at Yankee Stadium this summer, the commissioners of the major North American professional sports leagues – the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, WNBA and MLS – declared their “collective commitment to this focused aim.”