DANCIN’ IN THE FRIEND ZONE: The Raiders’ altruistic game plan has already woven the silver and black into the fabric of Las Vegas
Hut. hut, help …
The newly arrived Las Vegas Raiders have thrown no passes, made no tackles nor moved the chains even a yard yet. No fan has had a ticket scanned or a beer spilled. But for months, the Raiders have been all over the Las Vegas Valley, Zelig-like, planting figurative silver-and-black stakes in the community with donations and personal appearances.
Although one of the most memorable donations may have been the $50,000 the team pledged to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund after the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting on the Strip (the NFL Foundation pledged $50,000 to the American Red Cross in tandem), the Raiders’ outreach has lasted more than two years.
“(Community outreach is) something that the Davis family has historically taken very seriously,” Raiders President Marc Badain told the Las Vegas Sun in March 2018, referring to team owner Mark Davis and his family. “They don’t do it to toot their own horn, they do it because it’s the right thing to do.
“If the first touch point is you at a charity event or at somebody’s school trying to help fundraise for some cause,” he told the Sun, “that shows the type of organization that we are and that we’re going to be.”
How active have the Raiders been? Our email inbox runneth over with examples.
Jan. 25: Former Raiders players, whom the team has dubbed alumni (maybe they graduated Phi Beta Sacka), and team youth ambassador Raider Rusher join Del Sol High School students in an on-campus parade and celebration of Peace Week, a statewide effort to build a peaceful culture. To mark the occasion, the Raiders grant 25 Clark County School District schools with peace poles imprinted with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” or T-shirts with the Peace Week logo on the front and Raiders logo on the back.
Jan. 21: Raiders fullback Alec Ingold and tight end Darren Waller hand out lunches to Jack Dailey Elementary School first- and second-graders. The team donates $500,000 to the Nevada Department Agriculture Meal Service program, which feeds lunch and breakfast to Nevada schoolchildren. “We’re hoping to eliminate the debt that the entire state of Nevada has to do (for) that project,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told Raiders.com. Waller told KSNV-TV, Channel 3: “It’s always good to know that you can have an impact on kids in some kind of way.”
Jan. 9: A $250,000 grant from the Raiders through the National Football League Foundation Grassroots Program will help bring a new synthetic turf field at Rancho High School. The grant from the Raiders, the NFL Foundation, and Local Initiatives Support Corp. is among $61 million the Grassroots Program has invested in creating or improving 376 fields nationwide during the last two decades, Raiders.com reports. The new field will allow for 30 percent more usage and boost safety.
Dec. 3, 2019: On “Giving Tuesday,” the Raiders donated $15,000 each to nonprofits Wreaths Across America, Spread the Word Nevada and Southern Nevada Pop Warner Football. (The groups were also featured on the team’s Twitter feed to encourage fans to join the donating.)
Nov. 5, 2019: The Raiders host a watch party inside the Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the Aviators, complete with Kids Zone and a meet-and-greet with players. (Other watch parties were held in September at the LINQ and Henderson Pavilion.)
Oct. 24, 2019: The Raiders Foundation, the team’s charity arm, goes (ahem) all in by hosting a charity poker tournament at The Stirling Club, to benefit the Nevada Youth Football League, a nonprofit supporting year-round football and cheering activities for children ages 5 to 14. The tournament’s winner received a seat at the 2020 World Series of Poker as a grand prize. (The Raiders Foundation had also supported the 2018 Celebrity Swing to benefit Veterans Village; the 2018 Gridiron Griddle, to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada; the 2018 Salute to Service Combine, which benefited USO Las Vegas; and the 2019 Celebrity Swing, which benefited Communities in Schools of Southern Nevada.)
Oct. 19, 2019: The Raiders and Special Olympics Nevada host a flag football tournament at The Meadows School, attended by former Raiders, the Raiderettes cheerleaders and Special Olympics athletes. There were dance lessons, activities and, of course, silver and black swag. (The Raiders had been in Reno in June for the opening ceremonies of Special Olympics Nevada.)
Sept. 17, 2019: The Raiders and the After-School All-Stars led 150-plus Las Vegas-area elementary school students from the After School All-Stars in a “Stretch & Move” program as part of the team’s Play 60 initiative, which encourages youngsters to be active for at least an hour every day (not bad advice for the grownups, either). Former players visit the West Prep Academy to lead stretching, football drills and games.
June 6, 2019: The Raiders host “Educator Mix and Mingle” at the Discovery Children’s Museum to tell Clark County public, charter and private school educators about programs including admission subsidies, outreach visits and field trips. “We love that the Raiders are helping educators,” fourth-grade teacher Alisha Fletcher told Raiders.com. “Because, seriously, educators are the heart of our community.”
February 2018: The Las Vegas Sun reports that the Raiders and the Nevada Dairy Council presented the Sandy Searles Miller Academy for International Studies a $10,000 grant in conjunction as part of Fuel up to Play 60, a school nutrition and exercise program. “We do a lot of community stuff,” former Raiders defensive tackle Reggie Kinlaw tells the Sun. “We work with a lot of youth programs and schools and try to get them to participate in sports, too.”
Also, as the Las Vegas Review-Journal has reported, Raiders-themed license plates, available for a year for a $62 fee, had raised more than $350,000 for the team’s charitable foundation. The RJ said that through Jan. 27, 12,000 Raiders plates were registered in Nevada. Of the $62 fee, $32 goes to Nevada and $30 flows to the Raiders Foundation; the team doesn’t profit.
To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.