CLEVELAND — The NFL Draft slated to be held in Cleveland next weekend is expected to bring with it a significant economic impact, but the three-day long event isn’t just helping the city by getting tourists and fans to come in and spend—it’s also benefiting the city with programs and donations coming in from the league itself.
Leading up to the NFL Draft, which will take place downtown April 29 to May 1, the NFL is hosting a series of community events to help leave a long-lasting, positive legacy in Cleveland.
One of the ways the league is giving back to Cleveland is through a $35,000 donation to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and giving away NFL Draft-themed items to those receiving food, working to help fight food insecurity in the area.
The NFL is also partnering with Cisco to make a $150,000 donation to The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library Foundation — $75,000 each — as a way to help close the digital divide. The donation is intended to upgrade technology for children’s programming at the Cleveland Public Library and create new technology justice hubs for families with children to access Legal Aid’s services while at Cleveland Public Library branches.
Beautifying the city is also on the agenda for the NFL leading up to the draft, with plans to plant trees, build community gardens and support a harbor cleanup during Draft week. The league plans to donate unserved food and repurpose event materials as well, as part of NFL Green, in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
Finally, to end the week, the NFL, working with the Cleveland Browns, city and school reps, will host a field refurbishment groundbreaking ceremony at Shaw High School in East Cleveland through a $200,000 grant.
A community garden will also be built across the street from the field at Chambers Community Center, planting new garden boxes and landscape and providing a resource for students to grow their own food.
While we wait to see who the Browns take in the Draft to make the team strong, Cleveland itself will become stronger as a result of the three-day event.
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.