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NFL and ACS Continue to Partner in the Fight Against Cancer

When it comes to cancer, the NFL and the American Cancer Society know that offense is the best defense. Now, the two are fighting for positive change.

John Collins

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Professional sports leagues leveraging their platforms to raise awareness and support various charitable causes is certainly nothing new or unfamiliar.

We’ve all seen leagues like Major League Baseball wearing pink to support breast cancer research on Mother’s Day, blue to raise awareness about prostate cancer on Father’s Day, and many more.

One league that continues to go above and beyond is the NFL, with its impactful Crucial Catch campaign. Done in partnership with the American Cancer Society, the NFL and ACS announced the initiative will be expanding this year, and among other things, will be awarding $3.2 million in new grants to community health centers around the nation to reduce disparities in access to adequate breast cancer prevention and treatment services.

Started in 2009, the Crucial Catch campaign focuses on early detection and risk reduction, as opposed to some other charitable efforts that may be more geared toward research and/or funding for proper treatment and aftercare. Those are certainly equally important, yet as the Crucial Catch website says, “when it comes to cancer, the NFL and American Cancer Society know that offense is the best defense.”  

“This year, marking our 10th of working with the NFL and it’s Crucial Catch initiative, we’ve raised over $18 million to fight cancer,” American Cancer Society Chief Development and Marketing Officer Sharon Byers said.

She is proud of additional achievements, like the 201 grants they’ve been able to award across all NFL markets; the 632,000 patients they’ve been able to reach with education and screening materials; and upwards of 138,000 cancer screenings they’ve had a hand in supporting.  

Another unique element of the partnership is that all the funds raised through Crucial Catch are directed toward the ACS Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grant for Empowerment and Equity program (CHANGE). That’s particularly important because it’s through this program that the ACS works to fight cancer in communities that might otherwise get forgotten or overlooked.

CHANGE is fighting for every life in every community, and has made it a priority to address the critical importance of health disparities and lack of adequate care for some populations,” Byers mentioned. The program uses data to target communities that have lower screening and higher mortality rates, fulfilling the ACS and NFL mission of improving healthcare equality nationwide.

This year, the Crucial Catch campaign will be awarding two-year grants to 32 community health centers — one for each NFL market. The Defender app was also added to the plethora of resources they already provide, as it is “a new tool that provides personalized tips on how to reduce your risk of cancer” and is available to everybody.

Further showcasing the work done by the ACS through its partnership with the NFL, Byers noted the Sun Safety Initiative the two worked on this summer, in which free sunscreen was given out at training camps across the nation.

NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility Anna Isaacson, for one, loved the effort, as it “expands out Crucial Catch campaign with ACS, allowing us to increase our impact in the cancer space and address issues like the link between sun exposure and skin cancer risk.”

The American Cancer Society and National Football League continue their great work together using campaigns such as these to enact meaningful change.

A Communication major from the University of Southern California, with eclectic experience in the sports, business, and the entertainment industry, John Collins is the baseball writer at Front Office Sports. An avid sports fan and highly opinionated writer, John is of the firm belief that Bull Durham is far superior to Field of Dreams and looks forward to you telling him otherwise. Reach out: John@frntofficesport.com any time!

Public Relations

How the 24 Foundation Effectively Lifted Its Image in the Community

Started by one Charlottean after seeing Lance Armstrong defeat cancer, the mission of the 24 Foundation is getting aid to those going through a diagnosis.

Aaron Blake

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24 foundation

*Centerfold is a proud partner of Front Office Sports.

Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s triumphant defeat of cancer, one Charlottean decided to take matters into his own hands by spawning the 24 Foundation. The organization now uses 24-hour, non-competitive cycling and walking events open to all levels of ability as a way to raise money for cancer navigation and survivorship.

It began when Spencer Lueders, Founder of 24 Foundation, yearned to make a difference in the cancer community. Lueders became the first person to bike the famed south Charlotte Booty Loop for 24 hours. Only three miles long through the affluent South Charlotte Myers Park neighborhood, Lueders knew his commitment would be beneficial.

In 2017, the organization underwent a rebrand through the likeness of Centerfold Agency, also located in Charlotte, N.C. The rebrand positioned 24 Foundation to be more visible among other cities across the country.

“As an organization, it was important that we ensure each city hosting an event felt ownership of it, rather than feeling like an extension of Charlotte,” said Ann Marie Smith, communications and marketing director, 24 Foundation.

Previously known as the 24 Hours of Booty, the organization’s name did not have much significance outside of Charlotte. Giving a less localized name ensured others in various communities understood its mission.

“24 Foundation has grown to include Indianapolis as well as past events in Baltimore and Atlanta,” said Smith. “Event participants fundraise, and the foundation disperses those donation dollars to our local beneficiaries in each community as well as the national beneficiary, LIVESTRONG.”

The rebrand allowed 24 Foundation to shift its focus and clarify its mission: To inspire and engage communities to make an immediate impact on the lives of those affected by cancer. Without this mission, the foundation’s cause of providing cancer navigation and survivorship to those affected would not exist.

“Commonly, 24 Hours of Booty was thought of as an event to raise money for a cure or cancer research,” said Smith. “However, the rebrand gave us an opportunity to clarify our focus on cancer navigation and survivorship rather than research.”

Now completed, the rebrand keeps the legacy of 24 Hours of Booty alive. Maintaining the foundation’s signature colors and refreshing the logo, allowed them to achieve a modern look while embarking nationally and staying true to their roots.

“One of our favorite things that Centerfold has done is to create both a centralized 24 Foundation brand look and feel,” said Smith. “As well as cleverly modifying brand elements to match each city that we’re in.”

Elements of the live events boast hand-drawn backgrounds highlighting key elements of the host city. For example, Charlotte’s social graphic background embodied the Queen’s Crown and Indianapolis’s 24 Indy, embodied checkered flags.

Smith says these designs are intentional and pose a personal connection to the host city. The local elements, along with biking and community, bring together a wholesome and impactful experience.

“Everything they have created for the new 24 Foundation look is cohesive while weaving in local elements of fun,” said Smith.

Smith sums up the rebranding and repositioning as a great opportunity to tell their story better. The story of 24 Foundation has remained the same since its inception, but with the help of the professionals and a national outreach, the work shines through.

“Our mission has always been to provide aid to those going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as support to family members affected,” said Smith. “But the rebrand gave us the platform we needed to shift from an event-focused to a more mission-focused narrative.”

*Centerfold is a proud partner of Front Office Sports.

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Public Relations

Telling The Kentucky Basketball Story

Jim Cavale, CEO of INFLCR, chats with Eric Lindsey, Associate Director of Media Relations for the University of Kentucky.

Front Office Sports

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Leadership

Pointers from an Aspiring NASCAR Public Relations Professional

Aaron Blake

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Jason Schultz has found success by doing the little things.

Schultz attending Charlotte’s Bank of America 500 fall race as media in October. (Image via Instagram: jasonschultz)

Public relations and sports marketing careers are a hot commodity for many young professionals in college, and those with quality experience are setting themselves apart.

For one North Carolina college student, immersion into the communications field is exactly the standard he has set for himself.

UNC Charlotte sophomore, and Dirty Mo Radio producer Jason Schultz believes success can be attained in many ways.

“What I’ve found most effective is simply knowing who the major players are in the field that you’re interested in and then walking up and introducing yourself.”

Schultz lives by the premise of controlling your own destiny and utilizing your resources, whether that be your area or subject knowledge to make connections in the fast paced environment. He also acknowledges the importance of writing and developing a brand.

“Simply starting your own website or blog is a good way to develop and grow your brand to stand out to future employers.”

Schultz began establishing his brand in high school by joining Twitter, LinkedIn and developing his own blog.

“It [blogging] provided me an opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions, connect with professionals in the sport, and begin to get my name out there.”

From Stillwater, New York, Schultz has been passionate about NASCAR all of his life, and relishes in its intensity and excitement.

“Being so entrenched in the sport from a young age has also made it the most fitting field to pursue for a career,” said Schultz, “[It’s] allowing me to combine both my passion for the sport and passion for public relations.”

He believes that NASCAR’s reach, while present in New York, was not sustainable to develop a successful career. So, in August 2016, he enrolled at UNC Charlotte to pursue that dream.

In addition to being a full-time student, he is a part-time traditional journalist, writing for Popular Speed on the side.

However, he sees that concentrating in one area is not the best idea to have.

“I specialize in social media, podcasting, and journalism, and showcase each of those in a unique way as part of my brand.”

Schultz also knows that social media and digitization of access and content define what a brand can be in this age and the directions it needs to take. For NASCAR, its social presence showcases what the sport is doing right, allowing fans to engage and explore.

“Social media can often make or break a brand today,” he added, “As solid content allows organizations to reach a larger audience.”

Since 2014, Schultz has worked with Autism Delaware’s Drive for Autism garnering social media experience. The event includes a golf tournament involving drivers and broadcasters before Dover’s spring NASCAR Cup race. As a representative, he runs the social media accounts during the tournament and during the AAA 400 Drive for Autism on raceday.

Through production work at Dirty Mo Radio, Schultz also specializes in podcasting.

Schultz during work at Dirty Mo Radio (Image via Instagram)

The more eccentric podcasting industry allows fans insider access to driver personalities.

“The Dale Jr. Download on Dirty Mo Radio offers fans of the most popular driver a rare glimpse into his life and thoughts about the sport.”

Schultz believes that no other superstar athlete offers this much connectivity.

In his other on-site experiences, Schultz has traveled various race weekends, nine in 2017, and to NASCAR press conferences as a media representative. With over 2,500 twitter followers, his brand is being cultivated along with the journalistic demands of NASCAR media.

“One connection often opens the doors to more, and continuing to grow your network is important.”

Not only is courage important, but professionalism and your reputation can make or break you.

“If they hear good things about you from other professionals, it makes the process of gaining credibility easier.”

Like any other college student, he knows a lot of fun is involved, but he feels some students get distracted and do not focus well enough on why they are there — for a career.

Getting ahead raises the bar, and focusing sets the tone for what you will actually learn.

“Not all students will focus on working on their career throughout college,” he insisted, “If you can do that, you’re already well ahead of most students.”


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