The following is a guest post written by Chris Long, Defensive End for the Philadelphia Eagles, philanthropist, and supporter of Summer Search.
My name is Chris Long, and I’m playing the entire 2017 NFL season without collecting a paycheck because I believe that education is the best gateway to a better tomorrow for EVERYONE in America.
That’s why I am excited to partner with Summer Search on a couple of important initiatives to make a difference for deserving young people.
First, there is my Pledge 10 for Tomorrow campaign. In my 10th year playing professional football, I wanted to celebrate the awesome opportunity I’ve had by giving back to the communities that have given me that gift. I committed my first six game checks to fund scholarships in my hometown of Charlottesville, VA, and pledged my last 10 checks to organizations supporting educational equity and opportunity in cities that I’ve called home throughout my NFL career.
Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles Photography.
That pledge includes two Summer Search cities: Boston, where I was fortunate enough to win a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, and Philadelphia, where I was honored to announce my campaign and meet a great group of Philly Summer Searchers at their fall event.
Chris Long with students at Summer Search Philadelphia’s Fall Event at Mariana Bracetti Academy.
In total, my foundation is matching up to $100,000 each in gifts each for Summer Search Boston and Summer Search Philadelphia as well as two other organizations in St. Louis. My goal for the campaign was that my donation would be doubled by fans, businesses, and every person with a desire to join in my pursuit of equal education for all students. I am happy to report that we exceeded that goal with fans contributing more than $1.3 million to Pledge 10 for Tomorrow. With my contribution and fan contributions, together as a team we are investing more than $1.75 million into educational equity.
Secondly, I’m proud to announce that the Philadelphia Eagles, Summer Search, and I have teamed up with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher and Better Make Room initiatives! The goal of this partnership is to help college-aspiring students from low-income backgrounds across the nation to apply to college, get the financial aid they need, and find the support they need to graduate. Watch this video to learn more.
The FAFSA is really important: it’s the Free Application for Student Aid, and it’s pretty easy to complete if you have the right help. The problem is, lots of students don’t know how to complete the form, or where to start, especially if they are the first in their family to attend college. Research shows that students who receive federal aid are approximately 8% more likely to graduate from college than students that don’t complete the FAFSA.
Summer Search helps their students navigate the financial aid landscape so they can apply to college and get the support they need to successfully get to and through college.
The folks at Reach Higher / Better Make Room have also made it really easy to complete the FAFSA on their site at bettermakeroom.org. Click on Up Next to learn how to sign up to get help on applying, receiving tips via text messages, and links to the FAFSA. Or, simply visit fafsa.gov to get started.
Chris Long with Liz Hurst, Summer Search VP of Marketing (left), and Sylvia McKinney, Summer Search Philadelphia Executive Director (right).
I’m proud to partner with organizations like Summer Search and Reach Higher / Better Make Room to invest in our country’s young people and to create opportunities for everyone to have a bright future.
Wish me luck in the playoffs!