As members of Browns Backers Worldwide gear up for the 2021 season, several chapters are also planning to make a difference in their respective cities and give back to the community.
Through T-shirt sales, raffles, tip jars and other fundraising activities, many chapters have expanded their impacts beyond creating a gathering space for local Browns fans. From the United Kingdom, to Chicago, to right here in Berea, Browns Backers Worldwide has collectively fundraised and donated thousands of dollars to various charitable organizations and causes.
"Our Browns Backers chapter presidents and members are not only the most passionate fans but also leaders in their respective communities," said Corey Kinder, Browns Manager of Fan Experience and Special Events. "Their volunteerism extends beyond game days as evident by the countless hours, dollars, tangibles and camaraderie throughout the year."
Last year, Browns Backers Worldwide amassed $98,210 donated to charities 1,742 pounds of food donated, 442 volunteer hours, 15 families adopted for the holiday contributions and 2 scholarships granted. $19,000 were also raised for the Cleveland Browns Foundation in 2019.
More donations are ahead for 2021 — chapters will begin their fundraising efforts for this season starting Sunday as the Browns begin Week 1 of the regular season in Kansas City. Although not mandatory, Browns Backers have dedicated the Chiefs game as the Cleveland Browns Foundation game, and in return for their donation, chapters are entered to win prizes. One chapter will be recognized on Oct. 31 during the Steelers vs. Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium for their fundraising efforts.
Here what some Browns Backers Chapters have previously planned for their donations:
British Bulldawgs Browns Backers
Location: London, England
Chapter Size: 304
President: Kelly Burgess Taylor
The British Bulldawgs have previously supported the Cleveland Browns Foundation and Shelter UK, which helps people facing homelessness around the country. Their main avenues for raising funds have been raffles and donations through a virtual 'swear jar,' two methods that combined to raise £885 (approximately $1,225) for Shelter UK.
"Giving back to the Cleveland and UK communities is important to the British Bulldawgs Browns Backers because it gives our club a sense of a larger purpose than just cheering for a football team," Taylor said. "We get to know our fellow members a little better and it's great to make an impact on those who need help."
Berea Browns Backers
Chapter Size: 154
President: Paul Latkovic
Berea Browns Backers has previously supported Toys for Tots and has donated numerous boxes of toys, gift cards, and cash and raises funds from 50/50 and prize raffles.
"We hold this charity dear to our hearts," Latkovic said. "Giving back is the easiest form of humanity. You never know the impact on a person's life we have."
Syracuse Browns Backers
Location: Syracuse, New York
Chapter Size: 48
President: Sue McHale
Syracuse Browns Backers has primarily focused on Helping Hounds Dog Rescue — "Our Dawg Pound helping our local Dog Pound." The chapter has donated $500-$1,000 and "uncountable pounds of dog food donations," and money is raised through 50/50 and regular raffles. The group is hoping to surpass all of its previous donation records this season.
Chi-town Dawg Pound
Location: Chicago, IL
Chapter Size: 584
President: Jake Wilkoff
The Chi-town Dawg Pound has supported a different charity financially during each month of the season since 2014. Charities supported over the last three years include the Cleveland Browns Foundation, The Union League Boys & Girls Clubs, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, PAWS Chicago, and Habitat for Humanity Chicago. Last season, the chapter raised $6,566 by selling T-shirts and receiving donations.
Last season when the chapter's primary game-watching location closed due to the financial troubles beset by COVID-19, the chapter created a virtual tip jar that raised $6,800 to provide a lift to workers and small businesses.
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