February brought the celebration of Black History Month, in accordance with our social justice framework. We partnered with and amplified the work of the experts at Northwest African American Museum, invested in soccer and youth through RAVE Foundation, supported Black-owned businesses and integrated our celebrations into the matchday experience.
Community Investment at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School
In celebration of Black History Month, RAVE Foundation and NAAM joined fifth graders at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School on February 18 for a conversation on leadership with Sounders FC alumni Brad Evans. As an extension of the Books & Balls program, RAVE provided to the school library a book collection, curated by NAAM, that features inspirational stories of Black leaders, as well as a new soccer ball to each fifth grader. 75 balls were distributed to students that day!
Intentionalist Receipt & Receive
Black-owned small businesses are community hubs where people come together whether to celebrate, organize, or simply connect in a safe and inclusive space. To celebrate Black History Month, we continued our partnership with Intentionalist, collaborating on a variety of fun ways for fans to explore and #SpendLikeItMatters in support of the Black-owned small businesses at the heart of our communities.
Alongside our fellow pro sports teams - Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, OL Reign, Seattle Mariners and Seattle Kraken - we encouraged and incentivized the community to buy from local Black-owned small businesses. During Black History Month, fans could upload their receipts from Black-owned small businesses for the chance to win a prize pack from their favorite team. Thanks to the immense support of the community, over $20,000 in receipts were uploaded from Black-owned businesses in February!
Matchday Means More
The early start of the 2022 season meant a home match during Black History Month. We prioritized the infusion of Black History Month celebration and education in various aspects of matchday, elevating the work of our partners at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) and featuring Black-owned businesses, curated by Intentionalist.
While NAAM has kept its doors closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution has been active in serving the community by producing virtual programming & pop-up experiences, reaching over 100,000 audience members annually. We were thrilled for the opportunity to share two exhibits with fans: “Fighting for Hope: Seattle in the 1960s” and “Art as Life: The Story of Seattle’s Jacob Lawrence,” as well as a display of artwork by local Black artist Jeremy Bell.
Fans generously supported the work of NAAM and RAVE Foundation – Sounders FC’s charitable arm – in the community, through donations to the Books & Balls program! With this collaborative program, the two organizations work to create a more equitable society by giving Black-centered children’s books and high-quality soccer balls to youth in the region. At the match, when fans donated $20 to provide a book and ball to a local child, that fan also received a book and ball of their own. $3,500 was raised in donations, and 173 books & balls were handed out to donors. RAVE Foundation and NAAM will team up to deliver 173 books & balls to local youth a result of the event.
Fans who attended the match were also treated to some ‘intentional’ food options! Throughout the 2022 season, we are partnering with Intentionalist to curate BIPOC and diverse-owned food trucks on matchday that align with our social impact and cultural calendar. In celebration of Black History Month, the North Plaza featured Zuri’s Gourmet Donutz and Dat Creole Soul food trucks at the February 27 match.
Last December, we partnered with Intentionalist for the 2022 schedule release, spotlighting BIPOC and minority-owned businesses associated with each month of matches. As a continuation of this theme, throughout the 2022 season, we are excited to host each featured restaurant at a special pop-up in Lumen Field’s PNW Marketplace concessions area! The first of these pop-ups, featured at last Sunday’s match, was Taste of the Caribbean, who provided jerk wings, beef and veggie patties and other mouth-watering Jamaican fare to hungry fans.