The Washington Redskins announced yesterday that the club is teaming up with corporate groups to launch a charitable campaign to donate $1 million or more a year to community groups in the metropolitan area.
Less than a week after the team's championship quest died, the Redskins have set up a special funding organization called the Washington Redskins Leadership Council to oversee the contributions.
Federal Express, Dominion Resources and the Arthur Andersen accounting firm are among the corporations that will sit on the council, according to Stephen Baldacci, the Redskins' president.
Baldacci said that team owner Daniel M. Snyder "is very excited about the team winning. He also wants the Redskins as a platform to do great things in the community."
All but four of the National Football League's 31 teams have set up charitable foundations, with annual donations ranging from $100,000 to about $1 million, said Beth Colleton, the NFL's director of community affairs. The Redskins' plan is distinct, Colleton said, because it will include outside organizations in the decision-making process.
The Redskins already have set aside $1.5 million for scholarships for Prince George's County students living within a five-mile radius of FedEx Stadium under an agreement forged between County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D) and former team owner Jack Kent Cooke.
Over the last three years, the board in charge of dispersing those funds, the Landover Educational Athletic and Recreational Nonprofit Foundation Inc. (LEARN) has handed out nearly $200,000 to students, said Hilda Pemberton, the organization's president.
The Redskins' Leadership Council has raised $560,000 and is hoping to draw an additional $800,000 this year, including $300,000 from small businesses and individual fans who want to participate.
The team, Baldacci said, is recommending that the larger corporate donors give a minimum of $20,000 to sit on the council for two years. Those members, as well as political and civic leaders, are to meet quarterly--including once in the Redskins locker room and another time in Snyder's stadium suite--to decide where they want to direct their resources.
"A focus could be a needy school, or it could be the homeless, or it could be an education initiative," Baldacci said. A contribution, he said, "may be actual cash. It could be resources. It could be food. We have not defined how we will allocate the annual budget."
Baldacci declined to specify the size of each company's donation, although he said that the team has given "several" hundred thousand dollars.
Donation decisions will be made by the entire council, although one member will have a weighted vote. "The final decision on what gets implemented is with the Washington Redskins," Baldacci said.
CAPTION: Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder. The team has joined with corporate groups to form the Redskins Leadership Council, which so far has raised $560,000.