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The Houston Texans Social Justice Fund was established in 2019 as part of the NFL's Inspire Change initiative. The fund was created to assist nonprofits in the Greater Houston area that support youth and provide legal services for underprivileged citizens. The YMCA of Greater Houston, Restoring Justice and 8 Million Stories were selected as grant recipients, receiving $115,000 worth of grants in total, with the Houston Police Department receiving a separate $10,000 grant. Throughout the year, Texans players engage with these organizations and the individuals they serve through programming held with each group.
The McNair family hosts a video series titled, "Conversations for Change," aimed to create a dialogue about racism and social injustice. Houston Texans co-founder and senior chair, Janice McNair, chairman and CEO Cal McNair and Houston Texans Foundation vice president Hannah McNair, met with local Black leaders in the community, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Legend Travis Johnson, and coach Romeo Crennel.
8 Million Stories is a nonprofit that serves vulnerable and disconnected youth between the ages of 16 and 18 who have been involved in the juvenile justice system or kicked out of school. The organization received $32,000 in grant funding from the Texans, which has supported the purchasing of new desks and provided back-to-school supplies, a new program van for student transportation, new uniform shirts and graduation caps and gowns. Wide receiver Kenny Stills and running back Taiwan Jones visited 8 Million Stories to spend time with students, leaving a lasting impression on the youth served by the organization.
Restoring Justice provides holistic and loving legal defense and social services for the marginalized in the community. The organization received $32,000 in grant funding from the Texans, which was used to provide direct legal services to men and women in jail with inadequate court appointed defense. Out of the cases completed, 35 years of incarceration have been saved as well as $16,346,150 in incarceration costs.
In December, the Texans hosted 125 representatives from our social justice partners for a screening of Just Mercy before it hit theaters. The film, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, is based on the true story of Walter McMillian, a man who with the help of a young defense attorney, Bryan Stevenson, appeals his murder conviction. Immediately after the screening, the attendees engaged in a conversation about the film and how it is relevant to current events. Running backs Buddy Howell and Taiwan Jones, linebacker Tyrell Adams and Texans Ambassador N.D. Kalu led the discussion.
The YMCA of Greater Houston received a $50,000 grant from the Houston Texans Social Justice Fund. These funds were directed to the Y Teen L.I.F.E. (Leadership, Inspiration, Fellowship and Education) programs. The funds were instrumental in increasing access and providing opportunities for teens to participate in three signature YMCA teen programs serving youth ages 12 through 18: the Freedom Tour, the S.P.I.R.I.T. Summit and the Youth & Government program. These programs have the goal of empowering youth to use their voice to stand up for equality, social justice causes and issues facing young people.
The Texans' rookie class, including tackle Tytus Howard and cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr., hosted 50 students from Yellowstone Academy for an Inspire Change Activity Day. The day started with officers from the Greater Houston Police Activities League leading a workshop for students. Following the training, police officers and members of the rookie class were stationed at fun football drills. The Texans donated $10,000 to the league's program to help the organization further its mission of preventing juvenile crime and violence by building positive relationships among kids, cops and the community through positive engagement.
Texans co-founder and senior chair Janice McNair donated $5 million to Pro-Vision Inc. in Sunnyside Houston through the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation. This gift was among the largest donations in the NFL given in 2019 to support education, community relations and economic development. The funds will be used to build housing for low-income community members as well as assist in building an on-site football field and track facility. Late co-founder, senior chairman and chief executive officer Robert C. McNair and Mrs. McNair earlier gifted $450,000 to support Pro-Vision's Urban Farm and Aquaponics Initiative.
Wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills surprised two teens served by 8 Million Stories, Miracle and Jadon, with shopping sprees as part of the NFL 100 Experience of a Lifetime. Hopkins and Stills spent two hours shopping with the teens, purchasing clothes and shoes for their wardrobes. The teens have both turned their lives around through working with 8 Million Stories and will soon be earning their GEDs. Following the shopping spree, Hopkins and Stills provided tickets and sideline passes to the last home game of the season and invited the teens to join them for arrival photos as they entered the stadium.
The Texans' continuing partnership with the Houston Police Department supports the department's relational policing initiatives and community outreach. The partnership has led to players' learning more about officers' day-to-day jobs via ride-alongs, accompanying officers on hospital visits through the Badges & Bears program and funding from the Texans to support youth mentorship by officers through the Greater Houston Police Activities League. The Texans also provided co-branded Houston Police Department and Texans giveaway items for officers to use to create positive interactions with youth in the community.
The Texans Rookie Class hosted 50 kids from the Greater Houston Police Activities League (GHPAL) for a PLAY 60 field day. Police officers and members of the Texans rookie class were stationed at different drills. The Texans donated $10,000 to the GHPAL program to help the organization further its mission of preventing juvenile crime and violence by building positive relationships among kids, cops, and community through positive engagement. Texas Children's Hospital, the Texans official sponsor of PLAY 60, was on hand to offer tips about healthy eating and staying active.