Sounders FC today shared details surrounding the club’s celebration of Black History Month. In an extension of year-round efforts to fight racism and build stronger and more equitable communities as part of the Rave Green’s Social Justice Framework, the team is featuring special programming and projects this month focused on partnering with Intentionalist to support local Black-owned small businesses, amplifying the voices of experts via Seattle’s Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) and investing in youth through the popular Books & Balls program, a partnership between RAVE Foundation and NAAM.
This month, the club continues to deepen its impact alongside Intentionalist – an online guide to intentional spending that supports small businesses and diverse local communities – with several special projects designed to encourage awareness and support of local Black-owned businesses.
in the Receipt & Receive program, Sounders FC and fellow professional sports teams in the Emerald City – the Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Kraken, Seattle Mariners and OL Reign – are all encouraging fans to visit and buy from Black-owned businesses, with the chance to win special prizes from their favorite sports teams and Intentionalists. Those participating simply upload any receipts through Intentionalist’s website, with every receipt counted as an entry toward prizes. This program is currently active and runs through February 28, with a goal of $20,000 spent at Black-owned businesses during the month.
Sounders FC encourages fans to participate in this effort both by visiting their favorite Black-owned establishments and by utilizing Intentionalist to research new options to explore.
in the Buy Black program, Sounders FC once again joins fellow local teams and Intentionalist to offer 20 percent discounts on gift certificates to Black-owned businesses. Starting February 18 and running through February 28, fans can enjoy a 20 percent discount on gift certificates up to $100 from participating Black-owned businesses, found at Intentionalist.com/Black-History-Month-Gift-Certificates.
Because this special discount is underwritten by the teams and Intentionalist does not charge commission fees, 100% of gift certificate sales benefit the participating businesses.
In addition to the programs above, Sounders FC and Intentionalist have teamed together to share the story behind one BIPOC or minority-owned business each month, as a continuation of the collaboration that was shared for the team’s 2022 schedule release. In February, honoring Black History Month, the club recognizes Taste of the Caribbean, a Black-owned and woman-owned Jamaican restaurant located in Seattle’s Central District.
Sounders FC also continues its partnership with the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) this month, in an effort to amplify the voices of experts. While NAAM has kept its doors closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution has been active in serving the community by producing virtual programming & pop-up experiences, reaching over 100,000 audience members annually. The Rave Green are excited to share some of NAAM’s important work with fans in person by hosting a matchday museum pop-up exhibit at Lumen Field on February 27, as part of festivities surrounding the team’s home opener vs. Nashville SC.
Fans at the match can view a sampling of NAAM’s collection through two exhibits: “Fighting for Hope: Seattle in the 1960s” and “Art as Life: The Story of Seattle’s Jacob Lawrence.”
Sounders FC and NAAM are further celebrating Black History Month through a continuation of the popular Books & Balls program.
First introduced with giveaways in late 2019, Books & Balls distributes free Black-centered children’s books and high-quality soccer balls to youth in the region through a partnership between Sounders FC’s charitable arm, RAVE Foundation, and NAAM. NAAM has curated children’s books by Black authors and artists that seek to not only help reflect personal experiences and reaffirm value for Black youth, but also allow all children to become familiar with diverse characters and storylines while enjoying a new book.
RAVE Foundation’s gift of new soccer balls to pair with the books reflects RAVE’s belief in removing barriers to participation in soccer and sport for all children and that the right to play – regardless of race, income, ability or where you live – is a human right .
This month, RAVE Foundation and NAAM join fifth graders at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School for a conversation on leadership with Sounders FC alumni Brad Evans and Steve Zakuani. As an extension of the Books & Balls program, RAVE is providing to the school library a book collection, curated by NAAM, that features inspirational stories of Black leaders, as well as a new soccer ball to each fifth grader.
Furthermore, on February 27 at the MLS home opener, fans can not only enjoy the NAAM exhibits mentioned above, but they will hear the performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by NAAM’s African American Choir Ensemble. Fans can also support NAAM and RAVE Foundation’s Books & Balls program through “Get a Book & Ball, Give a Book & Ball”. At the match, when a fan donates $20 to provide a book and ball to a local child, that fan will also receive a book and ball of their own.
Further details surrounding Black History Month-centered events at Sounders FC’s home opener – including Black-owned food trucks fans can visit for matchday treats – are forthcoming. For additional information on any of the mentioned Black History Month programs, please contact a member of Sounders FC Communications.