NFL Salute to Service Initiative: How the NFL honors the US military each November

What is the NFL's Salute to Service initiative, which organizations do they support, and how much has the initiative raised since 2011?

The NFL’s Salute to Service initiative is currently being highlighted during the month of November. However, the Salute to Service initiative is actually a year-round effort to Honor, Empower, and Connect American service members, veterans, and their families. During November, NFL teams will honor servicemen, servicewomen, and their families during games.

What is involved in the NFL’s Salute to Service initiative?

The three elements that Salute to Service entails are to Support, Empower, and Connect. The honor element involves the NFL demonstrating “its gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our military through partnerships, grants, and recognition of service men and women.”

The empower element sees the NFL partner with organizations that support service members, veterans, and their families. The NFL can then use “its platform and resources to aid in creating a positive impact for our nation’s heroes.”

The final element, connect, is exactly as the name would suggest as the NFL brings together service members and their families together through their love of football. This provides an opportunity for those serving (or their families) to connect with one another.

Which organizations do the NFL partner with?

The NFL’s Salute to Service partners are currently USO, Wounded Warrior Project, Pat Tillman Foundation, TAPS, and Bob Woodruff Foundation.

The USO has been working since 1941 to assist men and women in the U.S. military and their families. The organization is beside the sides of military personnel from the time they join through until they transition back into their communities. USO’s mission is to strengthen “America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.”

The Wounded Warrior Organization supports veterans and service members who have incurred a mental or physical injury or wound while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001.

Meanwhile, “The Pat Tillman Foundation identifies remarkable military service members, veterans and spouses, empowering them with academic scholarships, lifelong leadership development opportunities and a diverse, global community of high-performing mentors and peers.”

The focus of TAPS is to provide “comfort, care and resources to all those grieving the death of a military loved one.” The organization has been working since 1994 and works with the NFL to honor families of those who sacrificed their life while serving by hosting them at year-round NFL events. The NFL also supports programs that help heal through mentorship and counseling.

Finally, the NFL supports the Bob Woodruff Foundation through a grant referral pipeline. The foundation’s mission is inviting people to stand up for heroes so that they “can find, fund, shape, and accelerate equitable solutions that help our impacted veterans, service members, and their families thrive.”

How much has the NFL Salute to Service initiative raised?

The NFL’s Salute to Service has been running since 2011. Through their first 10 years, they have raised more than $51 million. The initiative has grown exponentially, raising more than $17 million in the last two years alone.

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