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NFL grant highlights 3 million reasons to remember Las Vegas’ first Super Bowl

Long after the Super Bowl takes place this weekend, Southern Nevada nonprofits will have 3 million reasons to remember Las Vegas’ first big game.

The NFL and the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee on Thursday announced the award of $3 million to local nonprofits as part of the Super Bowl Legacy Grant program.

During a ceremony at the Neon Museum, they awarded $1.8 million in grants to be split among 88 local nonprofits, with causes that deal with improving diversity, equity, inclusion, education and health and wellness. The remaining $1.2 million in grants awarded were announced in December, which went to local nonprofits as part of the program.

“The Super Bowl grant is a legacy project that we have focused on for really almost three decades now,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday. “The intention is to make sure when the Super Bowl leaves that the NFL’s presence and the Super Bowl’s presence and how this community came together will continue to be felt.”

The millions of dollars being donated is a high-water mark for the grant program for the NFL, with Goodell noting: “Three million dollars, we couldn’t be prouder than that.”

The grant funds are unrestricted, meaning there’s no specific criteria for using the funds, gives the charities flexibility to use them to best fit their needs, according to United Way of Southern Nevada president and CEO Julian High, who serves as a fiscal agent for the NFL Grant program.

“The nature of the grant being unrestricted makes an unprecedented commitment to the community,” High said. “We know there are lots of needs in the community so this provides that flexibility that is oftentime not received in this kind of grant making.”

During the event, Goodell also praised the Raiders’ efforts to bring the Super Bowl here.

“We’re building and planting roots here in the Las Vegas community, and this is just an incredible step to continue to grow our footprint here, continue to grow the game of football,” Sandra Morgan Douglass, Raiders president and vice chair of the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee, said during the event.

During the ceremony, Courtney Kaplan, a host committee member whose 18-year-old son was killed in a crash in 2019, received a surprise gift from Goodell — two Super Bowl tickets — for her efforts raising awareness of the importance of becoming an organ donor.

“My son Michael at the age of 17 decided to be an organ, tissue and eye donor during a trip to the DMV,” Kaplan recalled. “Not thinking that I’d ever have to remind myself of that decision, when it came time we learned about Michael’s injuries, there was nothing to think about. I only knew that I had the opportunity to celebrate 18 years with an amazing human and now there are six individuals who are alive today because of Michael’s decision.”

The grant and the ticket giveaway “shows that the community will benefit from events like this (Super Bowl) in a way that we have perhaps not seen,” High said. “It just hasn’t been this scale. So, the scale of what’s happening here allows us to really be forward thinking and think about the long-term implications of investing in the nonprofit sector here in Southern Nevada.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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