The Browns, including coaches and players, donated $350,000 to East Cleveland City Schools as part of the NFL’s Inspire Change grant program, the team announced Friday.
The money is to help close the digital divide in the lower-income district.
“We firmly believe that education is the key to success for Northeast Ohio and all of our shared communities,” owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in the new release. “Our family and the Browns remain dedicated to providing educational resources and opportunities to schools and students, and we greatly appreciate our players’ and coaches’ significant contributions to this collective effort that will benefit East Cleveland City Schools. Every child deserves equal access to a high-quality education, and we all must continue to unite together and address any and all existing barriers, including those related to the digital divide.”
Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is part of the team’s social justice committee and feels strongly about the importance of education. The committee made improving educational equality one of its priorities.
“A lot of times, we do not understand the basic needs and necessities that people on a day-to-day basis do not have access to,” he said. “A lot of times, we feel like everybody has access to a computer, a laptop and internet access, but that is not always the case, seeing the numbers and seeing how staggering the divide was in certain homes that had no internet connectivity at all and no access.
“Being able to really attack the digital divide and get internet connectivity to the homes and to people is going to help us really bridge that gap because a lot of these kids go home and do not have the access that they need and they are falling behind. It is not due to them not wanting to work but just due to the fact that they do not have access. Being able to help these kids is extremely important and pushing the envelope for what we want to do as far as bridging that gap.”
On Tuesday, Ogunjobi and other players participated in a virtual listen and learn discussion with East Cleveland City Schools students and educators to hear their stories.