The Dolphins announced Tuesday a new collaboration with AARP Foundation with the goal of helping adults 50 and older in South Florida facing challenges with hunger, isolation, income and housing needs. The five-year deal marks the first time the AARP Foundation, a nonprofit charity, has teamed with an NFL franchise on this scale.
“It’s a privilege to be the first NFL team to partner here and have this relationship with AARP Foundation on their national initiatives around hunger, income, housing and isolation,” Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel said at a press conference Tuesday, “and to take these things to a new level with the two brands working together in this relationship to help people here in South Florida.”
The announcement Tuesday was the culmination of a process a little less than a year in the making.
“As we do our work across this nation, we look for the best organizations,” said AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson. “We want to work with organizations that are committed in a sustained way to improving the communities where they live and work.
“We’ve hit a touchdown in selecting the Dolphins to work with us because they are committed across the organization to help those in need. And we’re going to work with the Dolphins, with the Members. Our ultimate goal is to develop a core of volunteers who know that it is their mission to improve the lives of 50-plus low-income Americans right here in South Florida.”
As part of the new relationship, the Dolphins will focus each quarter of the year on impacting one of the four priorities of the AARP Foundation — hunger, isolation, income and housing — with a media campaign, unique content and an event.
For example, on Sept. 20 at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University, the Dolphins will host a large-scale meal-packing event to help address hunger issues facing adults 50 and older.
The project will include Dolphins executives, coaches, players, Dolphins Members, fans, corporate partners and volunteers working together with the goal of packing 1 million meals for older adults and their families in South Florida.
The next day, AARP Foundation will serve as the game-day sponsor for the Sept. 21 game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sun Life Stadium.
Additional aspects of the relationship with the Dolphins and AARP Foundation include hosting a financial workshop for fans 50 and older to help address the concerns of insufficient income among that age group. As part of the housing component of this effort, the Dolphins will assist people in the region by providing tips on affordable living as well as home rehabilitation. In addition, Dolphins volunteers plan to make surprise visits to 50-plus communities to address isolation, with the team aiming to bring individuals over the age of 50 to Dolphins home games throughout the 2014 season.
The agreement includes a heavy emphasis on philanthropy, launching AARP Foundation “Signature Saturdays” as well as a “Draft Your Own Community Team” event.
One Saturday a month will be selected for the Signature Saturdays event, where members of the Miami Dolphins Special Teams Driven by Chevy will execute a community service project targeting one of AARP’s Foundation’s priorities.
AARP Foundation and the Dolphins will work with fans to “draft” their own community team and execute an event in their region. In addition to reaching out to the target market of 50-plus individuals, the Dolphins and the AARP Foundation intend to connect with youth through AARP Foundation Community Service Academy. This week-long initiative helps high school students earn community service hours by giving back to their community.