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Buffalo Bills Social Justice Fund

Championing change

The Buffalo Bills ascended into the national spotlight in 2020 for their incredible play and successful season. Equally impressive was how the team stepped up to support our community during difficult times.

After students transitioned to remote learning, the Buffalo Bills announced a $500,000 grant to help close the digital divide and ensure Buffalo Public School students would have the internet access they needed to attend school virtually. 

The Buffalo Bills took on social justice as an area of focus in 2017 to give their players a voice and an opportunity to help improve lives in their adopted community in meaningful and practical ways.

What is so unique is that these efforts are player-driven and involve nearly the entire team. A committee that includes ownership, team leadership and players participates in outreach that, in 2020, focused on helping youth overcome various barriers, including health and wellness, after school programming and STEM education.

“We understand some of the struggles that people who look like us are going through and some of the things that they are dealing with on a daily basis. We felt that it was important for us to use this platform that we have to give back,” said Jerry Hughes, defensive end for the Buffalo Bills, who contributes to the fund. 

To root this effort, the Buffalo Bills established the Buffalo Bills Social Justice Fund at the Community Foundation. 

“Terry and I have been blown away by the generosity of our players, coaches and staff, and the impact it continues to have on our community. We would like to thank everyone involved with the Community Foundation for helping to maximize our team’s generosity through their deep knowledge of the grant process. The entire Buffalo Bills organization is proudly committed to fighting for racial equality and social justice, and to all the great works our players support through the Social Justice Fund.”  —Kim Pegula

In addition to the $500,000 grant to help close the digital divide, in 2020, more than $200,000 in grants were awarded to 14 local organizations with programs that support racial equity and improve community relations throughout our region. To date, grants total nearly $1 million. 

For Western New Yorkers, the Bills were a highlight in a very challenging year. While driving the football down the field was certainly something to cheer for, driving social change in our community is another meaningful way the team came together to make a long-term impact. 

This story is featured in our 2020 Annual Report