With Contributions to Nonprofits, Colin Kaepernick Keeps Promise to Drive Change

As the executive director of a small non-profit, Sharlen Moore is happy to talk with anyone who wants to know more about her organization and its work with economically disadvantaged teenagers.

So when a man from California called last fall, she thought nothing of it. Didn’t even realize until after they’d hung up that the Cat Collins she’d been talking with works with Colin Kaepernick.

Then a check for $25,000 arrived.

“For (larger, national non-profits), that’s a drop in the bucket. For us, $25,000 is huge. We can do a lot with $25,000,” said Moore, whose Urban Underground offers leadership training, helps with college preparation and applications, and provides job opportunities for teens in Milwaukee.

“We’re not getting funds like that,” Moore added. “To have made such a large gift is beyond meaningful for us. It is beyond meaningful.”

Kaepernick ignited a firestorm when he refused to stand for the national anthem as a way of calling attention to racial oppression and police brutality, a protest that spread quickly throughout the NFL. As he and players from nearly a third of the teams in the league knelt, raised fists or stood with arms locked, there was a loud chorus of criticism from those who felt they were being disrespectful.

But the protests stirred some to action. And it’s those actions that could continue making an impact long after the images of sideline protests have faded.

In November, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins led a group of five players who went to Washington to meet with Congressional leaders and learn how to make policy changes. The San Francisco Foundation is finalizing plans for programs designed to help improve relations between law enforcement and communities of color.

The initiatives will be funded through a $500,000 grant from the San Francisco 49ers, one of two the team made to Bay Area organizations focused on improving racial and economic equality. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation also got $500,000 from the 49ers.

“When you talk about the issues of inclusion and equality and equity and what does it mean to have a vibrant community, communities where people feel they belong and feel safe, it’s important to have conversations like this between law enforcement and people of color,” said Gail Fuller, the vice president of marketing and strategic communication for the San Francisco Foundation.

In Miami, that’s already started.

The four Dolphins players who protested — Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas — held a forum in September with community leaders, local coaches and representatives from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Gardens Police Department and Miami-Dade Schools Police Department.

The players explained why they were protesting, then listened as others described how they saw the protests.

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SOURCE: Nancy Armour