The bond continues to grow

The Steelers and the United Way have a long relationship, dating back to the days of Art Rooney Sr. And it's a bond that has remained strong for decades.

With a new decade underway, that relationship is stronger than ever.

That was reflected on Tuesday when Steelers players and the team donated $41,000 to the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania through the Steelers Social Justice Grant program.

The program is one that is led by the players themselves in conjunction with the team and is an effort to engage with various factions, including law enforcement, charitable organizations, military and more to strengthen the community at large.

"The NFL and the United Way has enjoyed a partnership for decades," said Bobbi Watt Geer, President and CEO of the United Way of Southwestern Pa. "As a Pittsburgher born and bred, I understand and appreciate the depth of the relationship between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the United Way of Southwestern Pa. It is unique and goes beyond what we see in some other NFL cities. Part of that has always been the deep involvement of the Rooney family and the leadership role they have played on our Board of Directors.

"It goes beyond that as well because we have had deep engagement from a variety of players and the organization overall. It's been not just through the Social Justice Program, which is a relatively new aspect of our partnership, but the Steelers have for many, many years helped us with campaigns, done special kickoffs and raffles with us, and players have done volunteer events for us. It's broad and deep."

The donation to the United Way comes from the team, as well as players including Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, Mike Hilton, Anthony Chickillo and Tyler Matakevich. The agencies it benefits includes Coaching Boys Into Men, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania.

"This year, with Coaching Boys Into Men, we are working on the largest implementation of that program in the United States," said Watt Geer. "And the Steelers are helping us do that.

"It's incredibly important to have the most revered team in town supporting the program. It provides another level of profile for the program in the community that the Pittsburgh Steelers are supporting it."

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