International Women's Day is an annual celebration to promote a more gender-equal world. The Eagles welcomed the day by investing in future women. As steps have been taken to grow Girls Flag Football in the state of Pennsylvania, driven by the Eagles' efforts, the organization decided to focus on access to critical resources to get more girls on the field.
Lincoln Financial Field was the stage for an event that involved volunteers from the front office to package $100,000 worth of sports bras to be donated to the local nonprofit, Leveling the Playing Field.
"I think when we typically think about sports equipment, and you think football, we're thinking about shoulder pads, helmets, knee pads, and girdles," said Dan Levy, Youth Football and Community Relations Manager for the Eagles. "We don't think about what a girl may need. Through our research and creating the first Girls Flag Football League, we noticed that that was a big miss, that girls need this equipment to play sports, so we wanted to remove any barriers for them."
USWNT legend and longtime Eagles fan Carli Lloyd lent a helping hand to prepare these sports bras for delivery.
"I am grateful for the resources and all of the opportunities that I had as a young girl, and so I think you often take that for granted," Lloyd said. "A simple act of a sports bra to get young girls out to play sports and to be active is super important."
Leveling the Playing Field touched down in Philadelphia last fall. What started as an empty warehouse in the city is now home to massive amounts of donated equipment for those in need. Originally, LPF hoped to begin distribution within one year of establishment, but just five months later, equipment is already making its way into the hands of local youth athletes.
Director of Operations at Leveling the Playing Field Kaitlin Brennan is in awe at how quickly the Philadelphia warehouse grew.
"I think the partnership with the Eagles has accelerated our visibility here in the Philadelphia community, and, quite frankly, filled the shelves of an empty warehouse faster than we could have even imagined," Brennan said.
"I think a donation like this, what it really does is truly level the playing field in terms of equity, in terms of making sure that girls who typically have lower participation rates – who may not have any opportunity to get in a sport and stay in that sport at the same clip that boys do – to really feel empowered, to feel confident, and, most importantly, have all the equipment that they need to be successful on the field."
This equipment donation of 6,000 sports bras is just one facet of a much larger commitment to sports for all. And the Eagles aren't stopping here.
"We do have a platform that tends to bring attention to efforts in the community," Eagles President Don Smolenski said. "This was an opportunity for an underutilized space that we can fulfill to give more opportunity to, in this case, young girls who play sports."