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FC Cincinnati Commits $250,000 to the FC Cincinnati Foundation to Support Programs Addressing Racial Disparities

June 30, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - FC Cincinnati News Release

CINCINNATI - FC Cincinnati announced today that club investors have committed more than $250,000 to the FC Cincinnati Foundation to be granted to local community organizations that work to address racial disparities and discrimination.

This effort, which includes support from Carl H. Lindner III, Meg Whitman, Scott Farmer, George Joseph and other club partners, will provide funding for local organizations working to support our Black community in the following areas: business/entrepreneurship, education, health care, jobs/job training and justice.

This commitment to positively impact the Cincinnati community has been an ongoing discussion with FC Cincinnati staff and players alike to provide input.

"Since our initial club statement opposing racism, we have been talking with and listening to our partners, players and staff about a stronger response that includes a plan of action," FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said. "We believe that we must all be vigilant in working to address systemic racism that unfortunately exists within our country and local community.

"We have the utmost appreciation and respect for every player, team staff member and front office employee and we are committed to continue showing that respect through action. Our partners have committed over $250,000 for our FC Cincinnati Foundation to support programs that tackle racial disparities in our community. We are proud of the tremendous work of inclusion in our stadium construction and by our FC Cincinnati Foundation and our ongoing efforts in the West End and with this new effort."

Economic inclusion for West End Stadium construction has exceeded team/community goals for spending on Minority Business Enterprises, Women Business Enterprises and Small Business Enterprises.

Despite a number of initiatives that were forced to be altered due to the pandemic, the FC Cincinnati Foundation has continued to make an impact in working with local organizations during the calendar year.

In addition to the $250,000 donation, The FC Cincinnati Foundation will continue its commitment to the West End with an additional $100,000 in grants provided to organizations in support of community building initiatives. The FC Cincinnati Foundation continues to work alongside partners to improve the lives of children through the pandemic. These initiatives include a $15,000 donation to three schools in the West End to help provide meals to students and parents after the school closure in March. Soccer programming will re-start with several summer camps along with in-school and after-school programs in the fall. The West End Pride soccer teams will participate in SAY soccer in the fall and our signature Learning Is Cool program, which reaches three school districts encompassing 27,000 students, also continues operation with rewards for children who reach the A Honor Roll.

"FC Cincinnati is fully committed to addressing racial inequality and inequity in our community and beyond. As an organization, we are reviewing areas where we can improve our efforts and are building a culture of inclusion in our club, with multiple meetings with business and soccer staff to plan meaningful action beyond today's funding commitment," Berding said. "This past Friday, Gerard Nijkamp, Jaap Stam and I met with players, coaches and support staff at the Mercy Health Training Center to have a dialogue on how we can support our players, staff and community and those talks will continue. We are working with one another to ensure everyone feels included and supported as part of the FC Cincinnati family."

Berding also noted, "Finally, it has been recently brought to my attention that some of our players have endured personal and racial attacks on social media. I am outraged by the vile sentiments directed to them. I have spoken numerous times with our players, staff and supporters about the culture of inclusion we are building at FC Cincinnati, and there is no place for racially offensive words or actions in our club. Appropriate action will be taken to ensure those with such sentiments are prohibited in our club."


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