The Cleveland Browns Foundation, established in 1999, has modified its focus to emphasize education through a solution-based, holistic approach to ensure Northeast Ohio youth receive the tools they need as a foundation for independence and success, the team announced Monday.
The pointed approach will allow the Foundation to best target and impact a specific area of need in Cleveland.
Following an eight-month evaluation and transformation, the Foundation identified youth education and development as the key areas of focus for Cleveland. A study conducted by the Alliance for Excellence Education in 2013 listed Ohio with an 80-percent high-school graduation rate for the Class of 2011, compared to a 79-percent national average. Cleveland Metropolitan School District last year had only a 59-percent average graduation rate, according to the Ohio Department of Education.
“By emphasizing education for Cleveland’s youth, the Cleveland Browns Foundation can help contribute to young individuals and our city as a whole, for both the short and long term,” said Dee Haslam, President of the Cleveland Browns Foundation. “Jimmy and I have always enjoyed a passion for helping others, and the Foundation will further allow the Browns and our family to support and fund programs that maximize the potential of our community’s children.”
Along with a new logo and new mission statement, the Cleveland Browns Foundation has incorporated the 2,000 Days campaign, in conjunction with The Centers for Families and Children; the Ginn Academy; and the Transformation Plan, in partnership with United Way and CMSD.
In addition to a handful of grants and programs already in place, the Cleveland Browns Foundation will continue to fund the Adapted Football League for disabled youth, the Back to School Campaign for Cleveland students and the Marion Motley Scholarship.
On Wednesday, Browns LB Quentin Groves, LB Jabaal Sheard and DB Donte Whitner interacted with 125 young men and staff members at the Ginn Academy, the only all-male public high school in Ohio. Through the Foundation, Browns players advised a select group of the academy’s students and shared life experiences and lessons, including the importance of making positive decisions in the classroom, at home and in the community to maximize their potential. Prior to spending time with the young men, Browns players also met with the school’s life coaches to gain insight about the program and the students they will meet.
The Foundation on April 23 hosted its first public event aligned with its new goals, Browns Family Fun Day at the Gordon Square Early Learning Center, which promoted the 2,000 Days initiative. The Browns and The Centers for Families and Children welcomed 100 guests, comprised of pre-kindergarten children and family members, for an entertaining afternoon of games and activities that focused on developing core skills that help foster success in life and the classroom, specifically kindergarten readiness. With approximately 80 percent of CMSD students failing their kindergarten readiness test, the 2,000 Days campaign strives to boost children’s development prior to kindergarten by improving learning experiences, parent-teacher partnerships and primary schools.