[February 3, 2014], ALEXANDRIA, VA: Hours before the Denver Broncos lined up against the Seattle Seahawks on Super Bowl Sunday, two other finalists—the Seahawks’ TEAM AVRIL led by defensive end Cliff Avril and the Buffalo Bills’ TEAM MOATS led by linebacker Arthur Moats—squared off in a league-wide competition to recruit the most volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. With 7,932 pledges, Arthur Moats earned the title United Way Super Recruiter and won $10,000 for United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.
“This may have been a competition, but there were no losers in this game,” said Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. president, United Way Worldwide. “Thanks to the NFL and its players, more and more people are getting involved in improving kids’ lives. Together, we’re recruiting a support team of caring adults to extend learning beyond the classroom.”
In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, United Way issued a challenge to United Way TEAM NFL players to boost their volunteer recruitment efforts with a post-season promotion centered on the NFL playoffs.
Starting with Wildcard Weekend in January, the top 12 performing players leading in volunteer recruitment began competing for the title of United Way Super Recruiter.
“My family has always impressed upon me the importance of academics and giving back to the community,” said Moats. “Working with United Way has shown me that when we unite as a community, we can accomplish wonders.”
During the five weeks before the Super Bowl, TEAM NFL players recruited nearly 13,000 more volunteers. By the final week, Avril and Moats had exceeded their volunteer recruitment goals by more than 3,000 pledges each.
TEAM MOATS' success was built on the partnership of the NFL player, the Buffalo Bills, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the TEAM NFL Student Representative, Simone Bernstein. They credit their success to having the St. Bonaventure University students, faculty, staff and community involved, a strong social media presence supported by all partners and Moats' eagerness to give back to the community.
TEAM AVRIL's success was built on the collaboration of the NFL player, the Seahawks, United Way of King County and the United Way TEAM NFL Student Representative, Casey Strader. They credit their success to having a recruitment booth at nearly all Seahawks home games, a strong social media presence supported by all partners and Avril's willingness to authentically engage with the community.
"I feel like education is key, especially in our community," said Avril. "We just need more people to go out there and volunteer."
United Way TEAM NFL is a core group of college-educated, civic-minded NFL players committed to helping United Way to cut the high school dropout rate in half by 2018. Each TEAM NFL player was charged with recruiting 3,000 volunteers and their recruitment efforts are tracked here.
About the NFL & United Way Partnership
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the partnership between the National Football League and United Way. Across the country, NFL clubs and players are working with United Ways to advance health and education for America’s young people through national and local initiatives like the annual NFL & United Way Hometown Huddle and United Way TEAM NFL. The work is in support of United Way’s 2018 goals to get 1.9 million more kids active and healthy by 2018 and to cut the high school dropout rate in half by 2018.
About United Way
United Way is a worldwide movement of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories. It advances the common good by focusing on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality life. The United Way movement mobilizes millions to action – to give, advocate and volunteer – to improve conditions in their local community. For more information about United Way, please visit: UnitedWay.org.