There are more than 100,000 members of the Browns Backers Worldwide, the team’s official fan club, in every state of the union and 10 countries outside of the United States, including faraway places like Perth, Australia, and Forward Operating Base (FOB) Wolverine in Afghanistan.
Being a Browns Backer is about more than cheering for the team on game day. It’s about supporting and making a difference in the community.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, the Browns recognized the commitment of the Browns Backers and their members by presenting $2,000 grants to three chapters, the Greensboro Browns Backers, the Lady Lake Tri-County Browns Backers and the Browns Backers of Greater Dayton.
“One of the things we love most about Browns Backers Worldwide is it’s not just Browns fans getting together to watch the games, but a huge part of what they do is giving back to their communities through volunteerism and raising funds,” said Renee Harvey, vice president of community outreach for the Browns. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Browns Foundation to partner with some of those groups and reward them for excellent work being down across the country. We’re very proud to award three fantastic clubs with the grant.”
The Greensboro (N.C.) Browns Backers have applied for the grant for the past couple years and president Mark Hanson said the grant will help the chapter contribute to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The cause is a personal one for Hanson, whose daughter is afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis.
The news of the grant came on the same day that Hanson closed on a house and was called to donate bone marrow for a patient in Washington, D.C.
“This grant is going to get us closer to a cure for the disease and we’re very excited to be here today and accept this money on behalf of our family and also, Cystic Fibrosis patients around the world who are going to benefit,” Hanson said. “We’re grateful for all of our friends and family, our Greensboro Browns Backers family. It’s a really big deal.
“They’ve both come together to help our family when we needed it and they’re working toward a cure for our daughter. That’s a big deal and the way we look at this, Browns fans are die-hard Browns fans, but our daughter’s going to redefine it because she’s going to thrive. A lot of the reason for that is because grants like this are going to make a cure possible.”
The Lady Lake Tri-County Browns Backers of Central Florida support a local charity known as The Haven. The Haven works with victims of domestic violence and children take up most of the space. In October of this year, five women were shot and killed at their work places by their abusers.
“They live on grants,” said chapter president Glenn Eggleston. “Everything has been cut back and they need the money. They need it badly. It gives me 1,000 percent happiness for them. I was a homicide detective before I retired and I handled many cases involving domestic violence.”
The grant will help the Browns Backers of Greater Dayton continue their support of the charity, Greenebucs. They support active and passive tricycle therapy and socialization for those affected by disabilities.
“The typical price of a trike is $500, up to $1,000,” said Paul Monnig, past vice president of the Greater Dayton Browns Backers. “We can buy two to four trikes for therapeutic purposes. Primarily, it’s for toddlers, young teens with M.S., Down Syndrome. Everything, 100 percent of our fundraising goes towards purchasing these trikes.”