According to Everytown for Gun Safety, more than 110 Americans are killed by guns every day. In Philadelphia, gun violence continues to be a major concern and has disproportionately affected underserved communities of color. In 2022, Philadelphia experienced 514 homicides, surpassing a city record for annual homicides for the second year in a row dating back to at least 1960, according to the City Controller's Office.
Two key contributors that fuel gun violence are poverty and unemployment. As part of the Eagles' ongoing efforts to expand upon its End Philly Gun Violence campaign and to help combat the crisis in Philadelphia, the team has announced a fully integrated approach to breaking the cycles of poverty and violence.
To start, the Eagles Social Justice Fund is awarding $410,350 in grants to nine local nonprofits that provide financial education and support for violence prevention.
• $300,000 will go toward violence prevention programs that give well-paying jobs to people affected by violence so they can use their lived experience to create positive change.
• $110,350 will go toward programs that give children and adults the knowledge they need to increase their financial literacy and grow their personal wealth.
|Social Justice Nonprofit Recipient||Area of Concentration||Grant Funding|
|Bridges to Wealth||Financial Education||$50,000|
|One Day at a Time||Financial Education||$10,350|
|CHOP Center for Violence Prevention||Violence Interrupters||$50,000|
|Collective Climb Restorative Community Project||Violence Interrupters||$50,000|
|Drexel University Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice||Violence Interrupters||$50,000|
|Mothers in Charge||Violence Interrupters||$50,000|
|Youth Empowerment for Advancement Hangout||Violence Interrupters||$50,000|
|Grant Funding Total||$410,350|
According to the City Controller's Office, there are at least 57 city blocks in Philadelphia where 10 or more people have been shot since 2015. The poverty rate around those blocks is nearly double the city's average. Furthermore, zip codes with higher rates of chronic unemployment have more shooting victims. The connection is most pronounced for Black and Hispanic men and boys ages 16 to 24.
"In Philadelphia, a lot of the violence that we are seeing starts with being in poverty," said Eagles running back Miles Sanders. "We're in a time in this country where a lot of our youth, especially, are at risk. This issue hits home for me because I came from a similar type of environment, and I know what it takes to get out of those situations. A lot of these kids look up to guys like us, and it's our responsibility to provide a source of inspiration for them and show them there is a way out. We can do this by investing in programs and initiatives that address the root causes of poverty and provide opportunities for those who have been trapped in it for far too long."
To inspire hope within the community and drive engagement to the selected nonprofits, the Eagles are launching a media campaign – A Fan of Change – to serve as an important call to action to end gun violence. The creative will highlight Eagles players and leaders from many of the chosen nonprofits who serve as influential voices in their respective communities.
"On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the nine grant recipients for all of their hard work and dedication to creating safer, more equitable communities for all Philadelphians," said Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles Chairman & CEO. "We admire and thank them for leveling the playing field in our communities. I commend our players for taking action and identifying these organizations for the transformational work they do each and every day, and for leveraging the Eagles Social Justice Fund to help combat a major issue facing our city."
"Violence is pervasive in our city, with a plethora of negative health outcomes for both victims and survivors, but we know there is so much that can be done to support children and families in being safe, healthy, and thriving in their communities," said Joel Fein, MD, MPH, co-director of the Center for Violence Prevention (CVP) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Continued CVP co-director Stephen Leff, PhD, "From our bullying prevention programming in elementary schools across the School District of Philadelphia to our community-based programming supporting youth with assault-related injuries, we are grateful for this support from the Philadelphia Eagles Social Justice Fund, which will allow our Center to continue and expand our trauma-informed work in school, neighborhood, and medical settings."
The Eagles will once again utilize EndPhillyGunViolence.com, a resource website designed last year in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia, to bring together information and steer young people to proven and effective help.
Established in 2018, the Eagles Social Justice Fund of Philadelphia Foundation was formed to provide grants to organizations that work to reduce barriers to equal opportunity, with a specific focus on education, community and police relations, improving the criminal justice system, and other initiatives targeting poverty, racial equality, and workforce development in the Greater Philadelphia area. In just five years, the program provided area-based organizations with more than $2 million in funding.
The team's anti-gun violence campaign launches as the National Football League celebrates Inspire Change - a year-round initiative that highlights the social justice work done by NFL players, clubs, the league office, and social justice grant partners to create positive change in communities across the country and ensure that equal opportunity becomes a reality for all.
New this year, the NFL created the Inspire Change Changemaker Award, which recognizes community members who are working every day to advance social justice. The Philadelphia Eagles selected Dr. Ruth Abaya, an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a Practice-based Scholar at CHOP's Center for Violence Prevention, working to reduce gun violence in the city.