Washington NFL team drops Native foundation

Dalton Walker

Updated: The team says it’s reviewing its philanthropic strategy and will no longer contribute to the Original Americans Foundation

Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today

The Washington NFL team dumped its controversial mascot earlier this year and now, it appears it has dumped its foundation created to help Native people.

The team will no longer make contributions to the Original Americans Foundation and will instead focus its charitable efforts on the Washington Football Charitable Foundation, USA Today reported this week. The Washington Football Charitable Foundation will continue to assist Native communities, according to the newspaper, but it’s unclear how.

“As part of our evolution into a franchise of the future, the Washington Football Team’s new leadership is reviewing our philanthropic strategy,” read a team statement to USA Today.

A spokeswoman for the foundation confirmed the shift away from the Original Americans Foundation and a new philanthropic strategy to Indian Country Today.

Julie Jenson said part of the strategy is working with advisors and leadership within the Native American community that is long term and sustainable. Strategy specifics haven’t been built out yet, she said.

In July, the team said it was retiring its logo and nickname, a dictionary-defined racial slur, after mounting pressure from activists and sponsors. It hasn’t made a public decision on a new name and is competing in this NFL season as the Washington Football Team.

(Related: Washington NFL team kicks out R-word)

The team launched the Original Americans Foundation in 2014. An announcement on its website from that time outlined its goals and cited its ability to “provide resources that offer genuine opportunities for tribal communities.”

According to the post, Synder and his staff traveled to 26 reservations in 20 states and met with 400 tribal leaders.

"The fact is, too many Native American communities face much harsher, much more alarming realities," Snyder said in the announcement. "I've listened. I've learned. And frankly, it's heart wrenching. It's not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans. We must do more."

It also noted the foundation had given a new backhoe to the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, among 40-plus projects being processed that year.

USA Today reported that the foundation donated $3.7 million in its first year, $1.6 million in the second, $650,000 in the 2017 fiscal year, $303,000 in the 2018 fiscal year, and $0 in 2019. It’s unclear where the money was spent or which tribes benefited.

The NFL franchise is facing sexual harassment claims that were recently exposed by the Washington Post. The report names Original Americans Foundation Executive Director Gary Edwards as one of the franchise employees accused of sexual harassment.

ICT Phone Logo

Story has been updated to include comment from Washington Football Charitable Foundation

Dalton Walker, Red Lake Anishinaabe, is a national correspondent at Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter: @daltonwalker Walker is based in Phoenix and enjoys Arizona winters.

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support Indian Country Today for as little as $10.

Comments (8)
No. 1-6
1492Decolonize
1492Decolonize

There is much to this story that we require more fact finding. For example : Questions How is this new foundation going to support First Nations Giving specific reasons why this newly formed foundation that was exclusive to First Nations and suddenly no viable and clear reasoning why it was dropped. This is where investigative reporting can make the difference. Something doesn’t smell right it requires further inquiry

macblackwolf
macblackwolf

If the penalty for removing racist logo is denying charitable donations than their intentions were tainted to begin with.

JeronimoSanCarlos
JeronimoSanCarlos

Very Fishy, seams like they got upset because of the removal of the racist logo, and racism. So to spank our people, they stopped the donations. Now that they are looking bad for doing so, they are writing something different. I'm not sure but that is what it looks like to me.

2 Replies

edc1951
edc1951

It sounds to me as if there was some sort of a quid pro quo where the agreement to drop the mascot and create the foundation was an eye wink. "Don't worry guys, make a few contributions this year and then you can stop." Look at the numbers NOTHING in 2019?

BlueHawk25
BlueHawk25

Listen up my peoples image isn't racist ...There is no racist logo...That is a F!@#$ lie...Name not bad either...If you did any research you know Natives use the same logo on the Rez...How can you not know this ..You just listen to what ever a few say ..My God...

Idiotnews
Idiotnews

Racism is as racism does.

Aliheliga
Aliheliga

Great article. Cutting the funds to the foundation seems vindictive and petty IMHO.

BlueHawk25
BlueHawk25

This team was never based on racism...The logo wasn't racist...Name not racist...This was my team ...I picked them as a kid because I am not ashamed of my Native hertitage ..Cherokee/Tuscarora...Redskins you can call me this and I won't cry about it...The few have ruined a great team and franchise..Also the same logo and name is used on Rezs for high Schools and so on...Worrying about crap that in the end hurts Native Americans more than helps...Can't have nothing ..Just erasing all Native signs and symbols like we was never here...America was ours and we shouldn't forget who was here first...I bet the Vikings and the Irish a white team won't be taking there white faces off anything....Native community have more important things to battle than stopping or ruining a great football team that proudly represented my people or myself...Redskins was pride and honor..


News

FEATURED
COMMUNITY