New York Giants’ Mark Herzlich Teams Up with United Way of NYC to Help Youth Build Character




September 25, 2017


Character Playbook, Powered by EVERFI and Presented by the New York Giants, United Way of New York City and Verizon Reaches more than 4,700 Students in First Year

Giants Linebacker, Mark Herzlich, United Way of New York City, and Verizon held a new, virtual classroom experience called Character Playbook LIVE on Monday, September 25, 2017 as part of the year two expansion of Character PlaybookTM, a digital character education program powered by digital learning innovator EVERFI, and presented by the NFL and United Way. Character Playbook has helped more than 4,700 students in over 60 schools in New York City area learn how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships in its first year.

Character Playbook LIVE is part of a league-wide initiative to engage more students in the important conversation of why character matters. All 32 NFL teams will host an event beginning in Week 2 of the regular season. For the New York City Character Playbook LIVE event, Mark Herzlich will virtually join local schools in their classrooms and connect lessons taught in Character Playbook modules to life on and off the field. Students will have the chance to engage with players in live, through an interactive activity and Q&A session.

Data compiled by EVERFI during the program’s first year indicates that New York City area teachers helped students complete more than 8,000 hours of learning which led to increased understanding of key social-emotional topics—a 45 percent increase based on pre- and post-assessment scores.

By the end of the program’s first year:

  • 75 percent of students were more likely to believe they deserve to be treated with respect
  • 67 percent raised their expectations about how to treat others
  • 68 percent said the program helped them identify actions they can take to treat people with respect
  • 66 percent better defined the role they can play in resolving conflict

“It is a privilege to be able to engage with these students through Character Playbook,” said Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich.  “One of my true passions is encouraging young leaders to think about how they can proactively create and maintain healthy relationships at school, home, and wherever their lives may take them.  Its great to know that so many local students are receiving in-school lessons on this very important topic.”

“We are pleased with the positive strides Character Playbook has made on students’ understanding of these critical topics and look forward to expanding its impact,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Character Playbook is a program for all students, athletes, and non-athletes alike, and addresses values we prioritize as a league. EVERFI and United Way, our nonprofit partner for over 40 years, have been instrumental throughout this process and understand the importance of educating students on these issues in an accessible and interactive way.”

The data around social emotional learning indicates a growing need in classrooms. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning found that students who participated in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs saw an 11 percentile point gain in achievement in social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance. Character Playbook is addressing these issues head on and supporting students in building the skills they need to be successful contributors to their communities through improved communication skills, recognizing positive and negative influences, managing their emotions, resolving conflicts and stepping up for one another.

“Good character is a critical building block of strong individuals and strong communities,” said President and CEO of United Way Worldwide Brian Gallagher. “By helping young people develop and recognize healthy relationships, Character Playbook is providing our next generation with the tools to succeed. It’s another great example of how the NFL and United Way are combining the love of team with a deep commitment to community to make a difference.”

The NFL and United Way invite fans and supporters to get involved in this ground-breaking effort through a new fundraising initiative designed to expand Character Playbook even further. More details can be found at

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About the New York Giants:
A cornerstone franchise of the National Football League, the New York Football Giants began play in 1925. With eight championships, including a victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, their second in five seasons, the Giants are the only franchise in the NFL with a Super Bowl victory in each of the last four decades. Headquartered at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., the Giants enter their 93rd season of play this fall.  For more information, visit

About United Way of New York City:
United Way of New York City (UWNYC) has been a trusted partner to government, corporations and community-based organizations for nearly 80 years—fighting for the education, financial stability, and health of every New Yorker in every community. UWNYC’s collective impact approach diagnoses neighborhood challenges and designs solutions to expand education, financial stability, and health opportunities. UWNYC then deploys resources and volunteers, while driving policy change that is guided by measured results. UWNYC envisions caring communities where all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives. Learn more at

About EVERFI, Inc.:
EVERFI, Inc. is the leading education technology company that provides learners of all ages education for the real world, through innovative and scalable digital learning. Founded in 2008, EVERFI is fueled by its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription model and has certified over 16 million learners in critical skill areas.  Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EVERFI investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter founder Evan Williams, TPG Growth, The Rise Fund, Advance Publications, and Rethink Education, and Rethink Impact.  The EVERFI Education Network powers more than 4,200 partners in their education initiatives across all 50 states and Canada. Learn more at

Media Contacts:

Sara Aylward
Manager, Communications
United Way of New York City