One of the Chiefs main missions is to engage the fans and unite with the Kansas City community, which they accomplish week after week. The Chiefs Community Relations department has created a myriad of programs in order to inspire youth, connect with the community and honor those in the region.
"The events that we have in place are really exciting because it's not only the players, or the Hunt family, but it's the Cheerleaders, the Red Coaters and front office staff; everybody coming together collectively as the Chiefs Community Caring Team to help uplift our neighbors and our community throughout the year," Chuck Castellano, Chiefs Community Relations Manager, noted.
The Chiefs Community Caring Team is led by Clark and Tavia Hunt along with the entire Hunt family and includes members from the Chiefs organization who participate in community outreach efforts throughout the year.
This unit is involved in events such as a food distribution around the holidays, visiting local schools, volunteering at Harvesters Community Food Network, hosting free dental work at the stadium, and much more. There was a lot happening in the community in 2013, so let's take a look at a few of last season's Chiefs community outreach activities.
Game for Charity
Since 1984, the Chiefs have teamed with our community to raise money and awareness for local children's charities through the annual Chiefs Charity Game. In the past nine years, over four million dollars has been raised for local charities. The 2013 Chiefs Charity game recipient was Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City for the second consecutive year.
As the recipients of the charity game for two years, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City received just over one million dollars.
"Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City was pleased to be associated with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chiefs Charity Game," noted BBBS CEO Micheal Lawrence. "Thanks to the generosity of the Kansas City Chiefs, we created hundreds of life-changing friendships for children facing adversity in our community. We were proud to serve as the beneficiary of this amazing event."
The Chiefs are an active supporter of USA Football's Heads Up Football initiative. Each year the Chiefs host an event for local players and coaches to receive further education on how to diagnose and prevent concussions, as well as proper tackling techniques and equipment fitting.
Last year, former Chiefs LB and Heads Up Ambassador Shawn Barber helped educate attendees on proper techniques and drills.
"This is a process of helping kids develop a new way of thinking when it comes to hitting," Barber noted. "We want to make the game safer for the kids. We want to give them the chance to play this game for a very long time and to walk away from the game."
60 Minutes of Play
The NFL's national campaign, Play 60, is designed to encourage young fans to be active for 60 minutes a day and eat healthy foods. Through the various youth programs reaching schools, community groups and other agencies, the Chiefs spread the Play 60 ideals to XX schools throughout Kansas City.
Various Tuesdays during the regular season the Chiefs Community Caring Team visited local youth to teach them the importance of eating healthy and staying active.
2013's Play 60 Super School was Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs visited the school to present a $10,000 grant to help improve their gymnasium and equipment.
"This grant is such a huge blessing for our school," Martha Salas, Spanish teacher at the Academy, noted. "Academics are very importnat to us, but the students need physical activity too. We want to keep them active and participating in fun and healthy initiatives as well. This grant will give us the chance to improve our gymnasium and provide equipment for sports."
Hunt Family Foundation
Recently renamed the Hunt Family Foundation, this charitable fund was established in 1983 as the Chiefs Children's Fund. It provides vital support to more than 60 local youth agencies annually. Throughout the years, the Hunt Family Foundation has partnered with generous individuals and businesses in Kansas City to make life better for children in our community.
Celebrating Regional Art
Led by the Hunt family, the Chiefs have been collaborating with leading members of the Kansas City business and arts communities to assemble a world-class collection of artwork in select spaces at Arrowhead Stadium. Ten pieces of artwork were installed at Arrowhead Stadium and all of the artwork was from local artists.
The Chiefs Art Program is designed to celebrate regional art while promoting regional culture, providing educational opportunities and engaging the community in a way that touches individuals of all ages and walks of life.
"Arts and sports do not need to live in separate silos, they can occupy the same space in a sense that we now have this great collection in the stadium," Sharron Hunt, Chairwoman for the Chiefs Art Program noted. "This art that lives in this stadium means so much to me. After meeting the artists, speaking with them, hearing the story behind each painting, it's very gratifying to walkthrough and see it on the walls at Arrowhead."
Game Day Fundraiser
The 50/50 raffle took place at every Chiefs home game during the 2013 season. This game day fundraiser gave one lucky fan a chance to take home half of the jackpot while the other half benefited a deserving local charity. One of the beneficiaries this year was Harvesters Community Food Network, which received $19,271 to provide meals to the Kansas City area.
"Harvesters loved being the recipient of the Chiefs' 50/50 raffle in October," Paula Pratt, Harvesters Director of Community Outreach commented. "At a time that the need for food is great, the raffle enabled Harvesters to provide more than 96,000 meals in our community. It also was a fun and innovative way for us to share our mission to feed hungry people with the Chiefs Kingdom."
Last season's proceeds also benefitted Big Brothers Big Sisters, Third and Long Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Rose Brooks Center, The University of Kansas Cancer Center – Breast Surgery Center, Camp Quality of Greater Kansas City and Hy-Vee Homefront.
The Chiefs organization and the entire Hunt family have made corporate citizenship and charitable giving in the community a priority for the Chiefs. These efforts help to foster a closer relationship with the Kansas City community and improve the Chiefs Kingdom. Last season's community outreach activities were incredible and this is just a glimpse of everything the Chiefs did in Kansas City. Be sure to look for more community programs throughout the year and onto next season as well.