The Washington Football Team and FanDuel Group, official partners in mobile sports betting, announced that they are making a $1M contribution to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
— HBCUCONNECT.COM (@hbcu) February 26, 2021
I spoke with Washington Football Team’s senior adviser to the President and former Super Bowl champion quarterback Doug Williams about the new partnership for The Shadow League.
The companies are creating an Emergency Student Aid Fund geared towards supporting current students enrolled at Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The donation comes in celebration of Black History Month with the UNCF working with the different institutions to ensure that the funds go to students who are in need of the aid. Coming off a pandemic that has led to massive layoffs and ravaged the health of many African-Americans in this country, the trickle-down effect has led to students having to drop out of college because their families are unable to afford it.
Those five schools are Hampton, Virginia State, Virginia Union, Norfolk State and Virginia University Of Lynchburg.
I asked Williams about his experience as a former HBCU student-athlete at Grambling State.
He says he “was blessed to not have any worries” as his full athletic scholarship took care of all of his expenses. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for roughly 75-80% of students who attend HBCUs and rely on some sort of financial aid.
Williams said he’s seen it from both sides, as a player and coach, at Grambling and Morehouse and says many students needed assistance to stay in school.
Williams also stated that he “loves being on the business side of the franchise, and he feels that he can have an even greater impact as he assists Wright in many future endeavors.
Williams also mentioned how near and dear HBCUs are to him and he applauds the UNCF’s commitment to partner with the WFT and FanDuel in this joint endeavor to administer emergency aid to help many. He reiterated the critical nature of this support as it pertains “to the students as well.”
When asked if he sees any way to permanently ease the financial strain of attending college, Williams stated,” all we can do is help those that we can with the resources we’re afforded. Although we wanna save everyone that’s just not possible but it’s our goal to save as many as we can.”
He commended the community work done by team owner Daniel Snyder and his wife Tanya since they’ve owned the team
The emergency fund is expected to be in play shortly and dispersed among the institutions to the students who need emergency assistance with technology, housing, food, tuition, security, and many other related expenses. Students can inquire about the fund with their respective financial aid offices.
When asked about HBCUs being tapped into and used as a legacy building-block (and he is the best example the franchise has ever had after his accomplishments), Williams says he believes that is possible. That’s something he, Jason Wright and the WFT have made a point of emphasis, on the gridiron and within the executive realm of the franchise.
Diversity has been stressed throughout Ashburn under the leadership of Snyder (who is making a comeback in the court of public opinion following the name/logo change and increased diversity hires) and Wright (the first Black Team President in NFL history) and if you look closely you’ll see those words are being turned into action.
FanDuel and the Washington Football Team have been partners since early this year, working together to make the organization’s home base (Virginia) inclusive while helping the surrounding communities thrive by providing equitable access to funds, programs and resources.