By Christina Weiss Lurie
This past week, Mayor-elect Jim Kenney made the following statement about our organization: "[The Eagles] are not, in my view, as community committed as the Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers are."
While I don't typically engage publicly, I was surprised and hurt by this claim because for more than 20 years Eagles Youth Partnership has impacted more than one million children in the Philadelphia region.
All of our professional sports teams - the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and Union - are actively involved in the community. We are fortunate to have a platform that allows us all to give back to the community and each of us enthusiastically embraces that responsibility.
Twenty years ago, we formed Eagles Youth Partnership, a 501c(3) organization, to be our public charitable foundation. In 1996, we launched the Eagles Eyemobile and began working in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia. The Eyemobile travels to 120 schools and public health clinics each year throughout the Philadelphia area. During this time, we have provided vision-care services for more than 70,000 school children in the city and have provided more than 50,000 pairs of glasses.
In 2000, we launched the Eagles Bookmobile to encourage children to read. Like the Eyemobile, the Eagles Bookmobile travels to Philadelphia schools throughout the school year, providing children with free books (500,000 and counting!) and teaching them that reading is fun.
Each year since 1997, we have conducted an annual day of community service known as the Eagles Playground Build. This day of service is also a partnership with the School District of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Eagles Youth Partnership has committed more than $2 million to this project and we have revitalized 18 Philadelphia elementary schools and parks with murals, playground equipment, landscaping, and turf fields.
Being active in our community is one of our core organizational values. There are so many organizations doing amazing work throughout our city on a variety of causes, and we support as many as we can.
In partnership with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, we helped raise $1.5 million for the Jefferson-Philadelphia Eagles Breast Health Center. For the past five years, we have worked with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on our Huddle Up for Autism program, which has positively impacted thousands of families. These activities represent only a portion of our overall commitment to Philadelphia.
We are proud of the work that all of the professional sports teams, private corporations, and nonprofits do in our community. Working together, there is so much good that is being done to make our great city even greater.
The Philadelphia Eagles organization has always valued its positive and productive working relationships with city government and we hope to continue that tradition with Mayor-elect Kenney and his administration.
Please be assured that the Eagles will continue to build upon our 20-plus-year commitment to the Philadelphia community.