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Denver leads the NFL when it comes to teams giving back to their communities

The Denver Broncos do a lot for the community through charity. Probably much more than you realize.

NFL: DEC 08 Broncos at Texans Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We don’t often cover the charity work the Denver Broncos do in the community and we really should, because they are one of the best sports teams in the nation when it comes to community involvement and impact. In fact, they were one of four professional sports teams named as finalists for the ESPN’s Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award in 2020. The other finalists were the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York City F.C., and the Sacramento Kings.

During the 2021 regular season, Denver Broncos Charities are holding 50/50 raffles at all home games. Attendees to the games can purchase tickets for three hours before kickoff and winners are announced during the fourth quarter on ThunderVision. The winner gets half the winnings and the other half goes to a Broncos charity beneficiary. This particular effort will support various charities, such as, the National Sports Center for the Disabled, the American Cancer Society, Cheer for The Troops (Denver Broncos Cheerleaders Program), and the Food Bank of the Rockies.

In the first home game against the New York Jets in Week 3, one lucky winner took home over $14,000, which means another $14,000 was donated to that week’s charity supported by this raffle, the National Sports Center for the Disabled. In Week 4, the raffle went to support the American Cancer Society of Colorado. Every home game will have this event in 2021, so if you end up attending a home game this season, you should definitely participate in this raffle. It’s a fun in-game event and it benefits some great causes in the community.

The Broncos have so many initiatives each year that it would be difficult to highlight them all, but here are some of the campaigns that have had the biggest impact.

Fight Like A Bronco

The Broncos “Fight Like A Bronco” campaign took flight after a Broncos employee, Luke Kellerman, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2015. From joining the Broncos’ turf staff in 2010, to organizing and helping the team focus it efforts in the fight against cancer, Luke was a great force behind this campaign. The impact of his efforts are still being felt each and every day through this program.

The primary goal of “Fight Light a Bronco” is to encourage cancer screenings. Since the program began, the Broncos have contributed over $287,000 towards research and prevention. That has helped fund colorectal and breast cancer screenings for nearly 74,000 people in Colorado.

Sadly, Luke passed away from his cancer fight in 2017, but his work towards this campaign has left lasting impacts on the community that I doubt even the Broncos expected.

Having lost my own mother-in-law to colorectal cancer in 2015, I know full well how vital a screening that detects cancer early can be for those survival rates. I wouldn’t be surprised if this program hasn’t already saved dozens of lives, maybe more.

Team Super Bowlen

This initiative began in 2014 as the Denver Broncos and the family of Pat Bowlen partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise over $650,000 through Team Super Bowlen at the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. Pat Bowlen and Annabel Bowlen both were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, with Pat passing away in 2019.

If you are big into Broncos training camp, the team does host an Alzheimer’s Awareness Day during camp where fans can make donations towards the ’Broncos Country’ Walk to End Alzheimer’s annual event.

Broncos Social Justice Fund

The Broncos, and the NFL in general, faced major societal challenges head on in 2020 in response to events around the country. Working with players and organizational staff, they came up with a plethora of initiatives around social justice.

“Our team has had a number of powerful, honest and at times uncomfortable conversations recently,” President & CEO Joe Ellis said last year. “Listening to the players—and watching what has taken place around the country—has helped us grow as an organization. I commend the players, John Elway, Vic Fangio and our staff for working together to take action and inspire change.”

The primary being the Denver Broncos Social Justice Fund that commits the organization to $250,000 annually towards player-designated social justice funds in the state of Colorado and also player communities.

In every way, the Broncos engaged the topic with openness and collaboration. The efforts are a testament to what we can achieve by working together for the common good.