Kicking things off in style

It's a relationship steeped in history and tradition. One that was formed by a common bond; that of wanting to help those in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area lead a better life.

The Steelers and the United Way. Two staples in the community that when working together, can make a difference for so many.

It started with Art Rooney Sr., and for more than 40 years the relationship has grown, handed down from generations of the Rooney family, as well as generations of players.

"It's an extraordinary partnership," said Bob Nelkin, President and CEO of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. "It goes back generations to Art Rooney Sr., 'The Chief,' and it's been steady for more than four decades. It includes the great leadership of the Rooney family, starting with 'The Chief,' and then Dan Rooney, and then Art Rooney II, who chaired our board for over five years, and even the next generation of the Rooney family is getting involved. It's a very tight relationship and very special."

When the Steelers host the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday at Heinz Field, that relationship will be on display front and center. The United Way will kick off their annual campaign in a fun style, when representatives from three area companies, ATI, represented by Jo Jo Monaco, Hefren-Tillotson, represented by Ben Montgomery, and Schneider Downs, represented by Steven Thompson, take part in a halftime field goal kicking content.

The winning company will be the organization to proudly kick off the campaign and will present a $10,000 donation to the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

"It's an important note to the community, get ready the United Way is going to try and raise a lot of funds and get a lot of volunteers so we can help people in need," said Nelkin. "It's so critical at this time when just the average family is struggling because of an unexpected event. They are struggling to put food on the table, or pay the rent, or keep the utilities on or get training for another position.

"This is an opportunity for Steelers Nation to get ready and to help their neighbors in need."

And fans can do their part to help as well. The popular 50/50 raffle at the game will benefit the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, giving fans a perfect opportunity to get involved.

The relationship with the United Way is one Steelers players have embraced throughout the years. From Franco Harris to Cameron Heyward, and hundreds more, they have and will continue to do their part, volunteering at United Way activities, giving their time to those who need it most.

"We always talk about people giving their time, talent or treasure," said Nelkin. "Particularly for young people, and for those who don't have the resources to give other ways. There are ways to give back. There are thousands of volunteer opportunities, from reading to young children, middle school mentoring, helping people prepare their tax forms to taking neighbors grocery shopping.

"I always say it's a win-win because the people getting helped benefit and the people giving the help may also benefit."

For more information on how to donate, advocate or volunteer for the United Way, visit  

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