The partnership between OneTeam—a joint venture of the NFL Players Association, MLB Players Association and RedBird Capital Partners—and LISC, the nation’s largest community development organization, is designed to enable athletes to assist with “high-impact economic development efforts,” according to a statement from OneTeam.
Those efforts include projects that “fuel neighborhood businesses, affordable housing, better health, workforce development and jobs, safe streets and strong schools,” OneTeam said.
Though no athletes have signed on yet, the initiative will include an athlete ambassador program to assist in connecting sports stars with fundraising efforts, local policy concerns and community organizations. The partnership will also bolster LISC’s Project 10x, a $1 billion initiative to close the racial health, wealth and opportunity gap. The project is named for the estimated 10 times difference in wealth between black and white Americans.
“Professional athletes are in a unique position of influence, and many are eager to leverage that position to positively impact the long-term outlook for families and communities,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. “They can attract attention and resources to efforts that catalyze local opportunities, breaking through barriers based on race, class and gender so that people can build strong futures for themselves and their children. We are grateful to OneTeam for their partnership in advancing this important work.”
The pact came about when James Rubin, a private equity CEO and OneTeam Partners board member, set up a meeting between Maurice Jones, LISC president and CEO, and Ahmad Nassar, CEO of OneTeam. Their conversations from there eventually grew into the partnership that was announced today.
“Athletes can affect not only specific issues but also their communities,” said Eric Winston, chief partnerships officer at OneTeam and a former NFL player. “Connecting a diverse roster of athletes from around the country, with opportunities to invest in several different ways to make their own communities healthier and more equitable, will be some of the most important work we do here at OneTeam.”