Steelers players have been working to inspire change in the community and beyond and a big part of that has been the team's Social Justice Fund.
The fund is a part of an overall commitment the players have made to being at the forefront of change and in 2022 they gave back in a huge manner.
The Steelers provided $517,400 in donations to community organizations through the Social Justice Fund, with the donations coming from individual players and the team matching their contributions. The donations came from 56 players, with defensive tackle Cameron Heyward leading the way by donating $100,000.
"I am proud of the commitment our players have made to the community through our Social Justice Fund this year," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "Through their efforts, donations surpassed the $500,000 mark this year. I especially appreciate the work of our Player's Social Justice Committee in guiding these efforts, which benefited so many great community organizations."
Since 2018, Steelers players contributions, along with the matching donations from Steelers Charities, have benefited more than 65 charitable organizations throughout the region and have totaled $1,850,720.
"I'm proud of the efforts made by my teammates and the Steelers organization to contribute to so many great organizations through this program," said Heyward. "Through the Social Justice Fund, we have been able to help provide Pittsburghers with access to food, education opportunities, legal resources and many other tools to help make people's lives better. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it again this year."
Contributions were made to over 30 organizations in Pittsburgh, and several in players' hometowns, with all focusing on youth development, food access, criminal justice, community and police relations, equity and inclusion education, and housing.
"I am super proud of our guys not just being in the community, but their giving through the Social Justice Fund," said Blayre Holmes-Davis, the Steelers Director of Community Relations. "I tell them to have both levels. I tell the guys to not just go out and have the conversations, but how they continue to do their work is through your giving.
"It's amazing and great to see so many of our players step up and be a voice and use their time and platform to champion causes they care about and get comfortable with the uncomfortable."
Among the community organizations benefiting from the Social Just Fund is Center of Life, which supports the residents of Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood as they strive to be strong and to make their community strong. The organization provides rich academic out-of-school programs and experiences in music and arts. Its mission is to provide families and youth with the life skills, education, training, and resources necessary to be strong and to make their communities strong.
"The Pittsburgh Steelers organization and its players are not apart from the community; they are truly a part of the community," said Tim Smith, CEO of Center for Life. "Along with the generous donation from the Steelers Social Justice Fund, the Steelers have been a great partner to Center of Life. From food and toy donations during the holidays, to watching movies with our students, allowing them to paint their gameday cleats, and having candid conversations with our students, the Steelers have proven their commitment to the community.
"Sometimes all young people need is to know that someone is in their corner and believes in them. Sometimes that little bit is all they need to succeed in life. And the kids we serve know that the Steelers are in their corner and care about them."
In 2020 the players formed a Social Justice Committee, a player-designed and player-run group that engages with the community on a personal level to address issues and helped to grow the overall program. The work they do, combined with the Social Justice Fund, is making an impact that can be felt throughout the Pittsburgh area.
"It's great to see," said Holmes-Davis. "What I always say is keep the momentum. What is so important about social justice work is it's a full-time commitment. We can't just stop that. We need to keep doing it. It's great to see the NFL involved with what they are doing, us as a team, and as we have the annual Inspire Change game to lift up that work. But I am a person who believes let's continue to have momentum, have the conversations and continue to do the work and not take our foot off the pedal."
Learn more about the individual donations and organizations who are a part of the Steelers Social Justice Fund: Giving Back to Make a Difference.