As it so often did during my many years in higher education, summer has flown by. And while one season winds down, another ramps up, which leads me to ask a very important question: Are you ready for some football?!
At AARP Foundation, we have a particular reason to be excited about the approaching football season. Earlier this summer, we announced a major collaboration with one of the NFL’s most storied franchises, the Miami Dolphins. The multiyear relationship will significantly help us serve the needs of vulnerable older adults in the South Florida region, by directly engaging members of the community to help us deliver real solutions to the challenges faced by so many seniors.
Related Quiz: What challenges do low-income seniors face?
While AARP Foundation has a long history of successful partnerships, with corporate sponsors, like-minded nonprofit organizations and grantees, this is our first relationship with an NFL franchise, and that’s truly something that should energize us all. Professional football is the most-watched sport in the country, with a demographic that aligns with our mission. NFL teams also have a reputation for being very involved in their local communities, and the Dolphins rank high in this regard, with their “Special Teams” volunteers and a foundation that focuses on helping those in need across South Florida.
So, connecting with an NFL team offers us the opportunity to raise awareness of our issues with a wide audience in a new and nontraditional way. We will also have the opportunity to form strategic relationships with the Dolphins’ own business partners, their suite holders and their thousands of season ticket holders. We know that telling our story -- the story of who we serve and how we serve them – to this audience is bound to have the kind of multiplier effect that we always look for.
I have asked Jim Lutzweiler, the vice president of our Hunger Impact team, to lead our collaboration with the Dolphins, and he has commented on how this relationship stands out: “What we are trying to achieve here has the potential to be a real game-changer. We are building corporate relationships that will lead to more sophisticated, broader-reaching solutions. We believe that we are developing a new model that will redefine how we help those in need.”
As Jim notes, it’s not just about raising awareness. It’s also about solving real problems, and how we are going about solving those problems with the Dolphins is another way that this relationship differs from what we’ve done in the past.