United Way of New York City, New York Football Giants & New York Jets Team Up to Support Local Youth


NEW YORK, NY – The New York Football Giants and New York Jets were on the same side of the field on May 9, 2017, for United Way of New York City’s 24th annual Gridiron Gala. The event celebrated their decades-long partnership to raise critical funds for low-income New Yorkers across the five boroughs.

Each year, the gala focuses on providing educational resources for kids living in New York City’s most-challenged communities, and honors athletes and corporate leaders who have demonstrated a deep philanthropic commitment in their communities. This year’s event raised nearly $2 million, which will benefit UWNYC education programs like ReadNYC—fighting to improve grade-level reading by third grade for children living in our City’s most-challenged neighborhoods, and helping families become self-sufficient.

The event also celebrated one year since the launch of Character PlaybookTM, a nation-wide initiative of United Way and the NFL focused on educating students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships starting in their middle school years. Through United Way of New York City: 2,784 students in 38 schools have completed nearly 8,000 modules across New York City.

“We are thrilled to partner with the New York Giants and New York Jets to support our youngest New Yorkers,” said Sheena Wright, President and CEO, United Way of New York City. “This long-lasting collaboration provides young people with vital educational resources they need to build character and ensure self-sufficiency—so that all students are empowered to succeed.”

Among the honorees were “Community Quarterbacks,” Karen Peetz, former president of BNY Mellon, and Al Ronci, Global Head of Real Estate for Willis Towers Watson; “MVP,” George B. Irish, Executive Director of Hearst Foundations; and “Hometown Heroes,” Giants star Mark Herzlich and Jets star Quincy Enunwa. Former Giants player and current United Way of New York City board member Amani Toomer, Jets legend Joe Namath, and Giants legend Harry Carson also attended the event, along with middle school students from Eagle Academy.

“The New York Football Giants are honored to celebrate our decades-long relationship with United Way of New York City,” said Allison Stangeby, Vice President of Community and Corporate Relations, New York Giants. “Through this partnership, we are able to create impact on and off the field by supporting the students and communities in which we live.”

“The New York Jets are excited to collaborate with United Way of New York City to continue growing our community engagement and provide educational resources to local youth,” said Jesse Linder, Director of Community Relations, New York Jets.  

For more information, visit unitedwaynyc.org or join us on Facebook at facebook.com/unitedwaynyc. Follow us on Twitter at @unitedwaynyc.

High-resolution photos are available at UnitedWayNYC.org/GridironSelects. Photo credit: Roger Archer and Peter Scarpaci.

For media inquiries, please contact Allie Wagner at 212-819-4804 or Allie.Wagner@edelman.com.

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. Serving low-income New Yorkers, UWNYC’s collective impact approach enables the diagnosis of neighborhood challenges and the design of solutions to expand education, financial stability and health opportunities. UWNYC then deploys resources and volunteers while also 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 www.unitedwaynyc.org.

About the New York Football 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 XLIV, 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 92nd season of play in the NFL.  www.giants.com  

About the New York Jets
The New York Jets take great pride in a long-standing, year-round commitment to our community. Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation look to positively influence the lives of young men and women in the tri-state area by promoting fitness, supporting youth football and preventing bullying, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

From launching football teams at urban high schools to urging students to be active for at least 60 minutes every day to fostering positive school environments, the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to our focus on youth development, the Jets support the efforts of the Lupus Research Alliance and numerous established charitable organizations and causes sponsored by the NFL. www.newyorkjets.com