(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Chargers recently celebrated its Social Justice Leaders and Organizations during the Week 16 game, on Saturday, 12/24 vs. the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. This marked the recognition of the NFL’s Inspire Change Changemakers Game and platform which allows each team to bring attention to community-based organizations that advocate for change on this important social justice issue. It also marked the final home game of the 2023 season for the team.
Here is the full press announcement that contains many of the prominent and impactful accomplishments that the Chargers have made to the League’s Inpsire Change program in 2023.
Los Angeles Chargers Celebrated Social Justice Leaders and Organizations at NFL Inspire Change Game
Alex Tonner and Jon Grobman of Paws for Life K9 Rescue to receive the Chargers’ Inspire Change Changemaker Award for their rehabilitation work at California State Prison-Los Angeles County
The Los Angeles Chargers highlighted leaders and organizations who tirelessly advocate for their community and raise awareness for social justice at Saturday night’s Inspire Change game, presented by Toyota. Alex Tonner and Jon Grobman of Paws for Life K9 Rescue were honored as the team’s prestigious Inspire Change Changemaker Award winners for their impactful rehabilitation work within California’s prison system at California Medical Facility Vacaville and California State Prison Lancaster. The duo’s dedication to their Rescue Prison Program has notably contributed to one of the region’s most successful inmate rehabilitation initiatives
Paws for Life K9 Rescue, a program empowering incarcerated individuals by training shelter animals to become exceptional pets or service animals, embodies the spirit of the Inspire Change Changemaker Award. The NFL’s Inspire Change initiative supports player-led efforts to collaborate with various stakeholders, including team owners, public officials, law enforcement, academic institutions and community partners to strengthen local communities and society at large. The Changemaker Award specifically acknowledges individuals in each NFL team market making significant contributions across Inspire Change’s focus areas: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform.
This year, the team joined Lazy Dog Restaurants for the third consecutive year to sponsor a service dog in-training, this time collaborating with Paws for Life K9 Rescue to train River —a three-year-old Golden Retriever that was brought to the City of Los Angeles Animal Services’ East Valley Animal Shelter as a stray and subsequently rescued by the Paws for Life. While Paws for Life K9 Rescue has many exceptional programs, the Chargers are honoring Tonner and Grobman specifically for the work they do in their Rescue Prison Program. Paws for Life stands at the forefront of innovative and life-changing programs centered around shelter dog training inside California prisons and empowering incarcerated people through their work.
Following the special halftime recognition, River was presented to a military veteran as a service animal, and the NFL Foundation donated $10,000 to Paws for Life K9 Rescue in Tonner and Grobman’s names.
The Chargers’ commitment to social justice extends beyond game day, with year-round efforts focused on identifying meaningful ways to support communities through funding, volunteer opportunities, and impactful messaging. This commitment is evident through team and Chargers Impact Fund led programs like Bolt Academy and Bolts Book Club, as well as support for organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, Brotherhood Crusade and Liberty Hill Foundation.
Additionally, the team partnered with PepsiCo for the second year to support Black and Hispanic-owned restaurants in Los Angeles through its Pepsi Dig In and Juntos Crecemos platforms. Chargers running back Joshua Kelley surprised three local restaurants with a $10,000 donation each and consumers were invited for free lunches at each spot, courtesy of Pepsi – all as part of the LA Chargers’ Takeout Tuesday which aims to raise awareness of the diverse restaurants that feed our local communities.
Local youth from Liberty Hill Foundation and the Bolt Academy attended Saturday’s game with six youth from Los Angeles having the opportunity to work during Training Camp and visit the team’s headquarters. The Inspire Change game provides a platform for these young individuals to reunite and enjoy the game with other members of Liberty Hill. Bolt Academy students, participating in a career training and leadership development after-school program, attended the game as fans after having worked all previous home games this season.
During the Inspire Change game, the team showcased in-stadium activations, including endzone stencils with powerful social justice messaging like “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism,” along with goalpost wraps, banners, sideline branding, helmet stickers, and Inspire Change branded gear for coaches, players, and all sideline personnel.
Since the launch of the league’s social justice initiative, more than $300 million in grants have been awarded to social justice organizations as part of the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative. The expanded partnership builds on the NFL’s social justice grants, which have supported more than 650 local non-profits, 1,950 player and Legend matching grants, and more than 40 national grant partners.
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