The Irsay Family and Indianapolis Colts to Host “Beyond the Sidelines” Fundraiser
As we have previously reported in our publications, the Jim Irsay family, owners of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, launched “Kicking the Stigma” in 2021 to raise awareness about mental health disorders and remove the shame and stigma often associated with these illnesses.
Through Action Grants, as well as personal donations by the Irsays, more than $16 million has been committed to organizations to expand treatment and research and raise awareness in Indiana and beyond.
During 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Month, the Irsays and the Indianapolis Colts held a four-day virtual fundraiser featuring Carson Daly, Snoop Dogg, Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy, Rob Lowe, Mike Epps, Cameron Crowe, Reggie Wayne, Darius Leonard, Frank and Linda Reich and others, which raised $4.5 million for Action Grants.
Beyond the Sidelines
This September, multi-platinum artist Andy Grammer will headline “Beyond the Sidelines,” benefiting “Kicking the Stigma.”
The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter is known for his anthemic pop hits “Keep Your Head Up,” “Honey, I’m Good” and “Don’t Give Up on Me.”
“I’ve always been labeled as the happy positive guy — and really owned that,” Grammer said. “But during this whole pandemic, I really began to feel the inability to get quiet with myself, and my mind was something that I really had to work on. So, I started going to therapy and really coming to terms with who I am.”
Funds raised will go toward the “Kicking the Stigma” Action Grants, which support nonprofits and other organizations, primarily in Indiana, that raise awareness about mental illness or provide mental health treatment services.
Indianapolis Colts Director of Community Relations Ashley Powell spoke about the initiative’s momentum since Kicking the Stigma first launched and the success it has achieved since its first virtual fundraiser in 2021. This year, the organization is elated to host an in-person event in September.
“We’re obviously very excited to feel somewhat back to ‘normal,’ and our goal [this year] was to have an in-person event,” Powell said. “A lot of what continues to drive our momentum is our Action Fund grants. We just finished our first year of grant distributions, and we were able to help fund organizations throughout the state of Indiana that are doing the important work in this space. The Action Fund is funded through proceeds generated through events such as ‘Beyond the Sidelines.’”
Powell mentioned that organizations such as Indiana Youth Group greatly benefited from these grants and that public service announcements (PSAs) have helped raise awareness about what Indiana’s mental and behavioral health organizations are doing to help children, youth and adults in need of these services.
“Indiana Youth Group was able to hire a behavioral health therapist and start a whole new program called ‘HUGS’ for a group of individuals that are part of their center,” Powell shared. “To see the impact that the PSAs have had and what the funds have been able to do for these organizations has really been humbling. The more we can help amplify what these organizations are doing and help provide them with the funding they need and maybe bring even more awareness to them, we are happy to do that — and that’s part of what ‘Kicking the Stigma’ is about.”
Powell encouraged any organization or group that is eligible to apply for the “Kicking the Stigma” Action Grants, to follow the “Kicking the Stigma” website for details on when the next application window opens — around May 2023. Interested parties should visit Colts.com/KTS for more information on the Action grants.
Are You Ready for Some Football and Fundraising?
What makes “Kicking the Stigma” even more unique is that it is an organization composed of football enthusiasts who are equally committed to helping community members in need of mental and behavioral health services.
So, taking full advantage of the platform that the Irsay family and Indianapolis Colts have, in addition to the “Beyond the Sidelines” event, Powell shared that this November, there will be some exciting lead-up and post-game opportunities to get involved and support “Kicking the Stigma.”
“Last year, we had our first ever ‘Kicking the Stigma’ game, and we’re doing it again this year,” Powell said. “We’re going to do it on Monday Night Football at the Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers [home] game on November 28, and we’ll be doing a lot of stuff leading up to that game and the week after. It will be similar to what we did last year with another ‘gift with donation’ opportunity. We’re looking forward to launching the celebrity interviews that we produced over the summer. We have caught the eye of several individuals from across the country who were willing to lend their voices and their support in that manner. So, we’re excited to put those pieces out for the public as well.”
To learn more about how you can support Kicking the Stigma or to get more information on the “Beyond the Sidelines” event that will take place Friday, September 23, 2022, visit Colts.com/KTS.