The NFL on Tuesday will announce $10 million in funding over the next five years to a coalition of non-profit organizations working to prevent sexual violence.
The first phase of the NFL’s donation to Raliance, the coalition between the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, will go into effect on July 1, with the awarding of 27 grants worth $50,000 each to a variety of organizations across the country and one in Guam.
“What I can’t stress enough is the potential for this progress and how excited we are to be standing behind these organizations because their goals are so lofty and this is such a huge moment in sexual violence. To be able to use these moments and actually make real change, it’s something that we really believe in,” Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility told USA TODAY Sports. “The coalition really believes they can end sexual violence in a generation and they’ve convinced the NFL that they can do it, and that’s really huge and exciting and something that we’re going to be watching closely and following for many years.”
The NFL first met with the NSVRC in the fall of 2014 in the wake of the domestic violence scandal following the league’s handling of incidents involving Ray Rice and Greg Hardy, and initially funded local sexual assault hotlines. But both sides sought to expand their partnership last year.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and members of his staff, including Isaacson, traveled to Enola, Pa., in May 2015, to meet with Karen Baker, director of the NSVRC. There, Baker and other sexual assault prevention experts pitched this coalition, which they hope will immediately provide the money local and national organizations need for victim services, education, research and prevention. Raliance will be located in Washington D.C.
“We feel like we’re in a real watershed moment right now in our country, with all of the attention on this issue, so we’re just really excited to bring three strong organizations together to combine our expertise and really move this thing to the next level,” Baker told USA TODAY Sports.
Isaacson said she is in communication with leaders from the three organizations in the coalition to discuss sexual violence issues, including major news stories like the recent case of a Stanford student whose light sentence following a felony sexual assault conviction triggered national outcry.