The NFL and United Way Worldwide today announced the national launch of Character PlaybookTM, a new national education initiative focused on youth character development and healthy relationships. The interactive digital program will be implemented directly in schools in NFL team markets, starting immediately in 14 markets and expanding to all 32 and their surrounding communities over the next three years.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and United Way President and CEO Brian Gallagher will announce the newest element of their 42-year partnership at a launch event at Chicago’s Ariel Community Academy surrounded by more than 600 students, Chicago Bears alumni, NFL Draft prospects, local United Way leadership and district and city officials. The initiative will be highlighted Friday during Night 2 of the NFL Draft when students from the Chicago Public School system will appear on stage along with Israel Idonije, a 2010 finalist of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which recognizes NFL players for their excellence on and off the field and is presented annually to one player.

“The NFL has a long-standing commitment to making positive change across society,” said Goodell. “Helping young people learn to act with integrity, become leaders, and stand up for others are important values. Our continued partnership with United Way will help ensure that students throughout the United States can learn these important attributes at the youngest ages and become caring and productive citizens in our communities.”

“Good character is a critical building block of strong communities,” said Gallagher. “By helping young people develop these skills and recognize healthy, productive relationships, Character Playbook is another example of how NFL and United Way are combining the love of team with a deep commitment to community to make a difference.”

The initiative is funded by the NFL Foundation, United Way Worldwide and powered by EverFi, the education technology leader that currently works in more than 13,000 K-12 schools and 800 colleges and universities. Fourteen NFL teams and local United Ways are the first to launch and locally fund the program. They are the Arizona Cardinals and Valley of the Sun United Way, Atlanta Falcons and United Way of Greater Atlanta, Buffalo Bills and United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Carolina Panthers and United Way of Central Carolinas, Chicago Bears and United Way Metropolitan Chicago, Dallas Cowboys and United Way Metropolitan Dallas and United Way of Tarrant County, Los Angeles Rams and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Miami Dolphins and United Way of Broward County, New Orleans Saints and Capital Area United Way, New York Giants and United Way of New York City, New York Jets and United Way of Essex and West Hudson, Philadelphia Eagles and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Seattle Seahawks and United Way of King County and Washington Redskins and United Way of the National Capital Area.

Character Playbook uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships during their critical middle school years. The course is comprised of six interactive, digital modules that cover key concepts around positive character development, social-emotional learning, and building healthy relationships. Designed for learners in grades 7-9, the digital learning experience enables students to engage with true-to-life scenarios that include bystander intervention strategies and positive relationship examples.

“We often assume young people will simply find their way to positive character and healthy relationships, but it is a skill that can be taught and nurtured,” said EverFi Chief Operating Officer Tammy Wincup. “The NFL and United Way have always been committed to helping lift up communities and we are thrilled they will bring Character Playbook to students across the United States.”

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About The NFL Foundation
The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on The NFL Foundation, visit:

About United Way
With 2.9 million volunteers and 10.3 million donors worldwide, and more than $5 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create community solutions that improve education, financial stability and health. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit

Media Contact:

Joanna Hunter (NFL)
[email protected]
(212) 450-2449

Anne Marie Borrego (United Way Worldwide)
(703) 836-7112 x321
[email protected]

Brian Cooley (EVERFI)
(202) 625-0011 x352
[email protected]