For the third time in New York City FC (NYCFC) history, ESPN announced the club as a finalist for the Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award.
It is also the only club in New York to ever be nominated.
Paul Jeffries, executive director City in the Community Group (CITC), the charity supported by NYCFC and City Football and board member, told the Bronx Times being in the south Bronx where many people struggle financially, the players and staff know how important it is to give back.
“It’s nice to have positive news during this difficult time,” Jeffries said. “We’re not a team, we’re a club. A club has a larger role in the community.”
Since COVID-19 arrived, members of the NYCFC organization have stepped up. They have worked with Councilwomen Vanessa Gibson and Diana Ayala and Community Board 4 and have given away 143,000 meals.
NYCFC has partnered with NY Common Pantry to make weekly food deliveries each week to Bridge Builders, a Highbridge based nonprofit, for the last three weeks. It also has another delivery to Bridge Builders scheduled for May 22.
NYCFC is also part of the fund created to help Yankee Stadium workers who cannot work due to the pandemic canceling games.
The club’s impact is felt throughout the five boroughs. CITC was launched in 2014 to use soccer to tackle social issues around health, education and crime prevention and has been committed to this important work since.
In alignment with health and safety guidelines from authorities, CITC transitioned 100 percent of its free soccer core programs to virtual platforms to ensure the wellbeing of local youth. The research from a third-party study has shown a $4.50 return in health benefits for every $1 invested in CITC programs.
“The combined efforts from NYCFC players, fans, young leaders, community coaches, elected officials, partners and front office has allowed us to develop life-changing pathways for New York City youth,” Jeffries said. “Our programs are successful because we don’t stop at funding; we are a part of the neighborhoods and schools on the day-to-day to create opportunities for youth to have access to the game and beyond.”
NYCFC and other finalists, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York City FC and Sacramento Kings will receive a $25,000 grant to the charity related to their award-winning humanitarian efforts. The award show takes place June 21 on ESPN at 9 p.m. The winner of the will be announced as part of the ESPYS and receive $100,000 towards their charitable efforts.