The Steelers commitment to their community continued when another donation through the Steelers Social Justice Grant program was announced.
The program, which is led by the players themselves, is an effort to engage with various factions, including law enforcement, charitable organizations, military and more to strengthen the community at large.
Steelers’ players are doing their part to make a difference, aiding organizations financially and by giving their time to local organizations.
The most recent donation was made to the One Northside Youth eXcel/APOST, a United Way Agency, with players donating and the team also contributing, for a total of $30,000. Steelers President Art Rooney II was on hand to make the presentation, along with Alejandro Villanueva and B.J. Finney.
“It you think about the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, and the Rooney family dating back to Art Rooney Sr., to Dan Rooney and now Art Rooney II, the whole organization has focused on helping the non-profit community, the community-based agencies, helping those in need,” said Bob Nelkin, CEO of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. “It’s a great tradition. It’s the sort of thing that inspires others to follow that model and be charitable as well. And it’s important they are giving back to the neighborhoods in the city, including a neighborhood where the Steelers play.”
One Northside Youth eXcel (ONYX), which is a part of APOST – Allegheny Partners For Out of School Time - is a joint effort of Northside youth service providers and community partners focused on supporting all Northside youth by preparing them for employment through afterschool and summer programs.
“It's super important to give back to this program,” said Joe Haden. “These organizations are doing a great job helping the youth here in Pittsburgh. At the end of the day, if things turned out different in some of our lives, we could be some of the same people who are benefiting from the different services. If it wasn’t for football, if we didn’t have people looking out for us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We need to give back to these organizations to give these kids the opportunities we were given so they can make the most of their futures.”
The goals of ONYX include supporting and improving after school programs and increasing participation. It also focuses on jobs for teens and increasing North Side employers providing placement and part-time jobs for them and improving job-readiness programs.
“It’s great to give back to the people who care about us,” said Bud Dupree. “It’s great to help people out whenever we can. When we started this, Maurkice Pouncey said we are going to be a team that is going to go out and make a difference with everything, be a helping hand. We said we need to do it, and we are doing it.”
And they are doing it in a place that has become their second home.
“Pittsburgh gives us so much,” said Ramon Foster. “Not just in what we do on the field, but the love that you get. It’s a genuine city that loves their players, loves the people. That is one thing you find out while being here in Pittsburgh. They make you feel wanted here.
“To be able to give back, to help make it a better community, it’s a great thing.”