About the NFL & United Way Partnership
For more than 35 years, the National Football League—owners, coaches, players and staff—have been working with United Way to strengthen America’s communities. Most recently, the partnership is leveraging resources and relationships to raise awareness about the issue of childhood obesity and creating new opportunities for young people to lead healthier lifestyles. It’s part of United Way’s 2018 goal to increase by one third the number of healthy youth.
The partnership originated in 1973 when the NFL and United Way of America came together to discuss the possibility of using the NFL’s network contract airtime to promote United Way during game telecasts. Then Commissioner Pete Rozell—a legendary PR man—recognized the partnership as a viable means of communicating the good works of United Ways while putting faces on a league of players hidden by helmets.
The collaboration continues through other campaigns. One example is the NFL and United Way Hometown Huddle—a league-wide day of service designed to advance youth health and wellness. During the annual Hometown Huddle, NFL teams participate in a variety of youth fitness projects in different NFL cities across the country on the same day—building fitness playgrounds, hosting youth football clinics, upgrading fitness facilities, launching HOPSports™ youth fitness zones. It’s our way of helping to reverse the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.
We invite you to join us. You can help support your community by volunteering your time, lending your voice or giving to support United Way’s work around education, income and health.
Visit the NFL Lives United Facebook page for current information, pictures and more.
Throughout the duration of the partnership, the National Football League and United Way have demonstrated just how much can be achieved by working together towards a common goal. While it’s clear that the names and faces associated with the partnership have changed over the years, one thing remains constant—our collective desire to improve the lives of people in the communities we serve.
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and United Way of America establish the NFL & United Way Partnership to increase public awareness of social service issues facing the country.
The NFL and United Way launch the largest public-service advertising campaign in the nation's history called Great Moments. In year one, the series received a gold medal from the International Film & TV Festival of New York.
Pete and Carrie Rozelle chosen as the first couple ever to receive the Alexis de Tocqueville Award, the highest honor given by United Way.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue joins United Way of America’s Board of Governors. He serves from 1991 to 2002. He chairs the board from 1998-1999
Dallas Cowboy Hall of Famer Roger Staubach joins United Way of America’s Board of Governors. He serves from 1997 to 2000.
United Ways and the NFL celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the longest-running sports/charity public service announcement campaign of its kind.
In honor of the 25th Anniversary, the NFL and United Way deliver their first annual Thanksgiving Day Halftime Show with the Detroit Lions.
The NFL and United Way launch a national day of community service called Hometown Huddle. On a single Tuesday, all 32 NFL teams work with their local United Way on a variety of hands-on volunteer projects for the community.
The NFL and United Way celebrate 30 years in partnership.
NFL executive Joe Browne joins United Way of America’s Board of Trustees.
The NFL donates $1 million to the United Way Disaster Relief Fund to assist victims of unprecedented hurricane activity in Florida.
The NFL and United Way launch the Lend a Hand campaign to inspire Americans to volunteer. For the first time, the ads drive viewers to unitedway.org to get involved in the community.
NFL Charities awards $1.5 million to United Way of America to support local United Way’s long-term recovery work in areas ravaged by hurricanes and tsunami.
United Way partners with NFL to launch new youth fitness initiative, NFL Play 60, designed to encourage youth to get at least 60 minutes of play in their day. In 2007, 22 NFL and United Way Hometown Huddle events were focused on youth fitness.
The NFL and United Way were first to market in America on a brand new technology, Text-to-Give to support youth fitness. The promotion raised more than $10,000 on Super Bowl Sunday with a single 10-second Super Bowl ad.
The NFL and United Way launch Back to Football Friday — a nationwide campaign to engage fans of all ages with the start of the 2010 football season and raise awareness about youth health and wellness.