The Cleveland Browns give back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through our signature First and Ten volunteer movement. This movement was created with the goal of impacting every individual’s community across the globe, as well as the team’s local community. To date, nearly 2 million hours of volunteering have been pledged through this initiative. The coaches, players and staff all contribute to the community through individual endeavors, but the Cleveland Browns as a whole are committed to giving back through the First and Ten movement. Because of this initiative, the Browns are the only NFL organization to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base.
In order to promote volunteerism in the local communities, the First and Ten movement takes part in numerous events throughout Northeast Ohio in order to spread awareness. Recently, the Cleveland Browns have activated throughout Cleveland at events like Wade Oval Wednesday and the Cause & Effect Community Festival — both hosted by University Circle, Inc. University Circle Incorporated is trying to reverse issues of poverty and homelessness by connecting the people of Cleveland in a unified manner. By promoting community service and unification, both organizations are creating an environment for friends and neighbors to naturally and fluidly help one another without any pressure. Attending these events helps showcase the organization’s commitment to the community. Events like these are a perfect opportunity for the Browns to meet those who want to give 10 hours and others in their community.
Wade Oval Wednesday (WOW) is a free concert held every Wednesday night throughout the summer where different organizations come out to inspire and engage others. The president of University Circle Inc., Chris Ronayne has been with the organization for 12 years, and thinks that the band and entertainment really doesn’t matter. Instead, he believes that residents venture to the area every week more for the scene where they can bond with their neighbors, develop trust among the community members, and exchange the very diverse culture that exists in the area.
When the Browns were on site, they were able to unite with fans through sharing information and stories about volunteer experiences and opportunities. Some fans work with local agencies focused on youth development, cancer research and sports, while others are actively looking for ways to give back.
Angie Hetrick, the founder of the first Cause and Effect Community festival and program manager for University Circle Uptown, believes that sometimes giving your time has a greater impact than a monetary donation, which is why she supports and believes in the First and Ten movement. “People want to help but don’t know how,” Hetrick said. This is why she invited organizations to one space where people can be educated and inspired. Hetrick spoke about the inspiration behind the creation of this event: “Don’t always think about changing the world because you can always make a difference in just one person’s life.” This is just what University Circle Inc. and the Cleveland Browns are on a mission to do every day. Through local activations, they hope to inspire goodwill in the local community.