Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

NFL to host community events across Chicago throughout kickoff week

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In the lead up to the Green Bay - Chicago Kickoff game in Chicago on Thursday, the NFL will host a series of community and service events to celebrate the start of the league's centennial season.

From citywide efforts to make the community greener and cleaner to character-building initiatives, the NFL will leave a lasting impact on the city of Chicago and throughout Illinois. Members of the community will be able to participate in these activities and experience the excitement as the 100th season kicks off in their city.

Throughout the week, volunteers and NFL Legends will participate in events designed to give back to Chicago. The NFL will host its third national huddle, HUDDLE UP TO PLAY IT FORWARD as part of the NFL's Huddle for 100 campaign. The campaign is the NFL's season-long initiative to get 1 million people to donate 100 minutes of their time with the goal being 100 million minutes volunteered by Super Bowl LIV.

As part of Huddle Up to Play It Forward, there will be a DOUGLAS PARK CLEAN UP event where 300 volunteers alongside NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL and CHICAGO MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT will participate in a revitalization project at Douglas Park, which spans an estimated 80 acres. FUEL UP TO PLAY 60 students, program advisors and dairy farmers will take part in the volunteer event. They will be joined by Pro Football Hall of Fame members ORLANDO PACE and JOHN RANDLE and NFL Legends MARTY MOORE and LEONARD WHEELER.

NFL partner LOWE'S will donate equipment and supplies that will be used by volunteers at Douglas Park. Lowe's employees will volunteer on projects throughout the park including mulching, painting and planting to beautify and positively shape the local park for members of the community.

Following the Douglas Park refurbishment, NFL partner CAMPBELL'S SOUP will donate soup products to volunteers. Campbell's will provide a chance for two volunteers to win pairs of Bears' tickets to a game later in the season through a raffle drawing at the event. DAIRY MANAGEMENT INC. and PIZZA HUT will also provide food for the 300 volunteers that participate in the Douglas Park NFL Huddle for 100 event.

To aid in enhancing the Chicago community, the NFL FOUNDATION has committed nearly $600,000 in grant awards over the past two years to the Chicago Park District. The NFL Foundation Grassroots Field Grant program (in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation) allotted funding to refurbish youth football fields in Douglas Park and Ogden Park. Additionally, the NFL Foundation also will provide a grant to help with the field refurbishment project at Dunbar Park.

Also under the Huddle Up to Play it Forward umbrella, members of Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the Chicago area will participate Wednesday in after-school activities that bring to life several Huddle Up to Play It Forward themes, including promoting healthy eating and exercise habits and creating a cleaner environment. The activity will walk volunteers through the process of decorating a recycling bin to serve as a reminder to recycle. Once the activity is complete, members can take their decorated recycling bin home or into school as an ongoing reminder to reduce waste. NFL Network Good Morning Football host KAY ADAMS will join participants in their efforts to beautify the environmental efforts of Chicago.

Additionally, the NFL will host an NFL PLAY 60 CHARACTER CAMP PRESENTED BY NATIONWIDE, led by Pro Football Hall of Fame Tackle ANTHONY MUÑOZ. The NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp program is a partnership between the NFL and the Muñoz Agency. The mission of the camps is to make a positive impact on youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing exercise, and reinforcing the importance of character in athletics and life.

Nationwide believes in the power of communities and is honored to partner with the NFL and Muñoz Agency, as presenting sponsors of the NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp in Chicago. Additionally, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Nationwide, in partnership with the NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation are proud to sponsor the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards which will recognize the contributions of Hispanic leaders in each NFL market.

In collaboration with ROC NATION, the NFL will host a speed mentoring event for participants of the BBF FAMILY SERVICES mentor program as part of the INSPIRE CHANGE INITIATIVE. Representatives from the NFL, Roc Nation and local civic leaders will engage with 65 youth ages 13-19 to provide them with an opportunity to ask questions of and learn from professionals. The speed mentoring session will allow the youth to think about their career paths and expose them to different ways of thinking about their future. Last week, it was announced that artists MEEK MILL, MEGHAN TRAINOR and RAPSODY are the first Inspire Change advocates of the 2019 NFL Season. Rapsody will attend the speed mentoring session.

On game day, the Bears and the NFL will host an additional Huddle Up to Play it Forward event, THE CLEAN & GREEN TAILGATE, where fans tailgating in various Soldier Field parking lots will be encouraged to help keep the tailgate areas clean by recycling and disposing of their trash. Volunteers, along with members of Soldier Field's Eastlake cleaning service, will be walking around the parking lots with branded Huddle for 100 garbage bags, encouraging fans to leave their spots litter free.


Huddle Up to Play it Forward; Douglas Park Event: Wednesday, September 4, 12:30PM – 3:00PM CT, Douglas Park North

Media – For more information, contact Jordyn White, NFL, ?

Huddle Up to Play it Forward; Clean & Green Tailgate Event: Thursday, September 5, 3:20PM – 7:20PM, Soldier Field Parking Lots

Media – For more information, contact Jordyn White, NFL,


Inspire Change; Speed-Mentoring Event: Wednesday, September 4, 5:00PM – 6:00PM CT, BBF Family Services

Media – For more information, contact Kelsey Boyd, NFL,


PLAY 60 Character Camp: Wednesday, September 4, 4:00PM – 6:30PM CT, Grant Park - Corner of S. Columbus Dr. and E. Balbo Dr.

?Media – For more information, contact Kenyah Jordan-Jackson, NFL,

Boys and Girls Club Youth Events: Wednesday, September 4, 3:30PM-6:5:30PM CT, Multiple Boys and Girls Clubs around Chicago

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