MIAMI – Stephen Ross and Miami Dolphins players announced that they have created a yearly fund for advocacy and social justice programs. In addition, the Miami Dolphins and its players will highlight groups and organizations in South Florida that tackle these challenges in the community during Miami Dolphins home games.
During 2017-18, the organization and players will identify and support social justice programs, including:
• Social Justice Grant Program
o The Miami Dolphins will identify and earmark funds for a grant program to impact organizations in need that are involved in community engagement, education or justice reform.
• Project Change Scholarship
o The Miami Dolphins will Identify deserving high school students and provide them with funds over a four-year period. The goal is to target students to change their lives, so they can make a change in their community. Criteria includes participation in programs that positively impact community engagement, education or justice reform along with an essay on how they want to positively impact the community.
• Police Athletic League of North Miami
o Players and law enforcement discussed collaborating on joint programs during a ride along event and community policing on Tuesday, Oct. 10 with the North Miami Police Department and Broward Sherriff's Office. As a result of these productive conversations, the team will sponsor The Police Athletic League of North Miami's (PAL of North Miami) whose mission is to cultivate partnership between parents, schools and the community.
• 5000 Role Models and Miami Dolphins Police and Youth Conference
o The Miami Dolphins will partner with the 5000 Role Models Excellence Project to host a conference at Hard Rock Stadium designed to promote positive interaction between youth and law enforcement.
• RISE Leadership Programs
o The RISE Leadership Program is designed to empower sports administrators, coaches and athletes to be leaders in discussing and addressing matters of racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusivity within their teams, schools and communities. During the 10-week program, high school participants learn about the history of race and sports, the power of sports to drive change and how they can become leaders in improving race relations. The Dolphins will sponsor programs at Booker T. Washington, Cooper City and Hollywood Hills.
• CommUNITY Tailgate
o Miami Dolphins players will continue to host community leaders, youth, coaches and law enforcement to participate in special tailgates prior to each home game with the goal of continuing dialogue between community members and fostering relationships. The CommUNITY Tailgate initiative stems from a solution-oriented town hall hosted in fall 2016 by the Dolphins and RISE during which players and local leaders discussed actionable steps that could be taken to address issues of racial inequality and unite the community. This marks the second season of the tailgates at Dolphins home games.
• Unity Day
o During the Dolphins and RISE player funded tailgate vs. the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 31, the team will host a town hall meeting featuring community leaders, law enforcement and educators with a shared goal of improving race relations and bringing people together under the unifying values of sports.
These initiatives will be in addition to the previous work in this space through the team's collaboration with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). Founded and created by Ross in October 2015, RISE harnesses the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Since its founding, RISE programs have reached more than 30,000 students, coaches and athletic staff at the high school, collegiate and professional level. To learn more about RISE, visit risetowin.org.