Pouncey helping the men in blue

The Steelers have made a commitment to their community that grows every year, and one of the most recent initiatives is the Steelers Social Justice Grant program.

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 the team announced this year was made to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Fund, with Maurkice Pouncey making a donation and the team also contributing for a total of $20,000.

"Money helps out in this world," said Pouncey about the donations. "I know it's a cliché thing to say the NFL is giving money. But these organization, with what they are trying todo for people, they need the money. It's about changing lives.

"I like getting involved. It's not just about writing a check. It's about giving your time, showing up, being involved and letting people know you care just like everybody else."

Pouncey, who is the Steelers Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, chose helping the police because of his long-standing relationship with them. And like he said, he is involved.

"It makes me feel better to give back to the community and see the smiles on people's faces and know that you are doing something significant in their lives," said Pouncey. "It's bigger than the work police do in the community. They are involved with the people, not just in certain communities but around Pittsburgh," said Pouncey. "Just knowing the police chief, and some of the officers throughout the city, you know they are great people. They look at it bigger than just coming to the game with the kids for a few hours. They really care and are trying to build great relationships with the families for down the line. That is genuine to me. You see people who get involved the way police do and I appreciate it. I hope over time people can see it and join in and see the significant things they are doing.

"Over the years they have been looked down upon. If people see I am involved and letting them know they are great people and they are making a big difference in the world, hopefully we can change the stigma of the police and the community."

For the past three seasons Pouncey has donated tickets to Steelers home games to the Pittsburgh Police for them to take youth in city neighborhoods to games, as well as enjoy a pregame tailgate party inside of Stage AE. The tickets are distributed to different police zones each week, allowing a wide range of kids the opportunity to not only see a game, but spend quality time interacting with the police and getting to know the men and women who are there to protect them.

"It gives you a sense of hope that people are committed to your cause," said Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert. "We do this every day and when you have people trying to help, who have that ongoing commitment, it becomes like a partnership with that person. It makes our jobs easier.

"With what he is doing with the tickets every game, there is no way we could do that without him. We just have enough money to do the normal things in policing. When we get support elsewhere, we are able to do new things and it builds on it. It builds on the continuing relationship."

The donation was made during an event at the Christmas tree lighting and toy distribution at Holy Cross Church in Homewood and will be used in a manner that Pouncey appreciates most, helping the kids in the community and continuing to build a relationship.

"We try to keep consistent with how we do things," said Schubert. "One of the big things with Maurkice is he is big on the youth and police relationship. We have been doing a lot with it.

"What impresses me the most with him is how humble he is about it. I have tried a few times to offer to promote him for things. That is not what he wants. I share with him after every game through social media and text messages about the groups we take every game. That is the value he gets, is seeing something is being done and is making a difference in the lives of others. That is what makes him happy. He feels blessed to be where he is, and he wants to help others and have it as well.

'He is awesome."

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