The Steelers commitment to their community continued when the fourth donation through the Steelers Social Justice Grant program was announced on Tuesday.
The program, which is led by the players themselves, is an effort to engage with various factions, including law enforcement, charitable organizations, 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 Pittsburgh Police Fund, with Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert and the Steelers organization combining to present a check for $25,370 to purchase a community relations trailer for the Pittsburgh Police.
“We have had a relationship with the Steelers organization over the years, but never a one-on-one partnership with the players themselves,” said Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert. “We met with the players and the results we have had since then have been great. When we met, the players realized they have a platform that could help bring the community, especially the youth, together with the Pittsburgh Police.
“The Steelers audience is near and far, all ages. They have that platform to bring people to us. Whether it’s a community event, going to a school with us, a ride along. They have that platform because of who they are and the team they play for. That is the key to us. We may not have that opportunity because of distrust in the community in the past. As long as we can get the police, Steelers and the community together, we can build that relationship that might not otherwise exist.”
One of the players who was a part of that meeting Schubert referenced was Pouncey, who immediately got on board by giving the Pittsburgh Police tickets to every home game for officers to bring area kids with them, building a relationship that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
“It’s just giving the kids a different perspective on police officers, how they look at them, knowing they look out for us, they are there for us, they care about us and the great things they do in the city,” said Pouncey. “We just want to change the image, get involved. Chief Schubert and everyone have been doing an excellent job. They really care about the city and the youth and are making a difference. it’s big for us.”
Players have always been involved in community events, but this year they have taken it to the next level with the Social Justice Grant program.
“We are blessed to be in this position. it feels great to connect with the police and the community,” said Gilbert. “It’s great to be a part of the support system to help bring the community together and draw people together.
“This helps big time. I have had family in law enforcement. There are a lot of great police officers. We want to help bring the police and kids together. The better the relationship, the safer our community and a better environment for them to grow up in.”
Several players have taken part in a ride along with the police and are committed to continuing the relationship and making it grow.
“Imagine doing a ride along and you have a Pittsburgh Police officer and a Steelers’ players, and you see a group of kids playing football, or standing on the corner, and we can pull over and get out and you see the officer and player get out of the car,” said Chief Schubert. “That breaks the ice and gives an opportunity for positive engagement. That gives a positive message and helps us with the community, especially the youth, and hopefully they will look at us differently.
“If people get to know the officer, look behind the patch, the uniform, get to know the person, then I know we can be successful.”