This year's NFL Draft will include the second "Draft-A-Thon," a fundraiser that drives awareness and action to close critical gaps as the country is recovering from the pandemic, aiding some of the hardest hit communities. Draft-a-Thon will raise funds on behalf of four national nonprofit organizations that are supporting underserved communities in four areas, including the digital divide in education, health disparities, food insecurity and mental health.
"It's imperative to help those in need as we navigate toward recovery from the pandemic. Through Draft-a-Thon, the NFL Draft will serve as a platform to create action and change," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We're proud to partner with the CDC Foundation, The Education Trust, Feeding America, and Mental Health America in helping generate awareness and driving assistance to aid those who have been critically underserved throughout the last year."
Draft-A-Thon will be part of the NFL Draft broadcast and will also be livestreamed over the NFL's social media platforms. It will feature current players and NFL legends, prospects, influencers and NFLN talent for the first two days of the draft, all a second-screen experience to drive impact. Fans are encouraged to donate at nfl.com/DraftAThon.
The following are the charities that Draft-A-Thon will benefit:
Health Disparities: Communities of color, indigenous communities, older and rural Americans have long faced health disparities, creating obstacles to achieving health. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic, where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted those already experiencing health disparities.
-- CDC Foundation: Through Draft-a-Thon, the CDC Foundation will drive awareness of the cause of health inequities and promote vital community conditions, including meeting the basic needs for health, nutrition, safety, housing, education and meaningful work.
The Digital Divide: Over this past year, the digital divide – a growing chasm between those who have access to computers and reliable, high-speed Internet and those who do not – has widened due to the pandemic. When schools closed their doors, students began to work from home. But many were not able to do this. More than 16 million students lack the necessary internet access at home to complete their homework, according to Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
-- The Education Trust: This year's Draft-a-Thon will push forward the urgency to close the digital divide, which is absolutely an education issue, but also an issue of racial and economic justice. The Education Trust works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families. The Education Trust will use funds from Draft-a-Thon to support local community efforts to provide high-quality summer programming that seeks to narrow the digital divide with effective learning devices, technical support, or STEM skill-building.
Food Insecurity: Feeding America estimates nearly 42 million people, including 13 million children, could face food insecurity in 2021 due to the ongoing economic fallout from COVID-19. This equates to 1 in 8 people and 1 in 6 children.
-- Feeding America: Feeding America's mission is to feed people facing food insecurity through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. Draft-a-Thon will provide an opportunity to inform fans that we all have neighbors that need our help putting food on the table, especially as we work towards pandemic recovery, and we can all help by spreading the word, donating and volunteering.
Mental Health: Throughout the ongoing pandemic, 4 out of 5 people who took an anxiety or depression screening with Mental Health America reported moderate to severe symptoms. The pandemic has made it clear to everyone that there is a huge need for more mental health services and support, especially in our hardest hit communities.
-- Mental Health America: Mental Health America is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all. Draft-a-Thon will raise awareness and understanding that prioritizing our mental health is a key part of recovering from the pandemic.
To help, you can DONATE HERE.