The Green Bay Packers announced local nonprofit leader Rhonda Chandler as the team's recipient of the inaugural 2022 Inspire Change Changemaker Award.
The league's newly established award recognizes individuals who are making a difference in their communities through social justice work, either individually or as part of a non-profit organization, across each of the NFL's 32 club markets. Chandler will be recognized on the field prior to Monday night's "Inspire Change" game.
Chandler is the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Lovin' the Skin I'm In. The faith-based nonprofit exists to empower and uplift young Black and Brown girls. It gives girls ages 7 to 18+ in Northeast Wisconsin access and exposure to opportunities that develop their talents, gifts and leadership skills. The group also just recently launched a male program.
Chandler started the organization in 2020 after realizing the challenges her own children were facing, including bullying, racist comments, racial slurs and microaggressions. The group started with about six young ladies and has now grown close to 100. The nonprofit provides weekly and monthly group meetings, extracurricular activities, volunteer opportunities and parental support.
"The younger we can reach these girls and give them the tools that they need when these issues arise, the better," Chandler said. "We want them to be physically, emotionally and mentally healthy and knowing that they are enough, that they're valued, and that they're loved."
Before founding the nonprofit, Chandler was a social worker for over 20 years and volunteered with Service League of Green Bay serving underprivileged youth. She has always strived to serve the community. She is very passionate and embodies several pillars of the Inspire Change Initiative. Through the education pillar, Chandler helps young girls gain access to much-needed resources. By starting her nonprofit and supporting other entrepreneurs, she models the economic advancement pillar.
"We are very pleased to present this award to Rhonda," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. "It takes a special kind of individual to meaningfully address social injustice and orchestrate change. Rhonda and her organization identified an issue and started small. It is impressive to witness the growth and impact of this program in only a couple of years."
Inspire Change Changemaker Award recipients were selected based on their outstanding work in the community, supporting one or more of the four key pillars encompassed in the Inspire Change Initiative: Police-Community Relations, Criminal Justice Reform, Education and Economic Advancement.
"Being the Inspire Change Changemaker Award recipient is truly an honor and humbling," Chandler added. "I do not take the opportunity to pour into the lives of young people and their families lightly. What is happening in this organization is bigger than me and I am grateful to be walking in purpose and vision."
Inspire Change is the NFL's social justice initiative which showcases the collaborative efforts of players, owners and the League to create positive change in communities across the country and ensure that equal opportunity becomes a reality for all. Since 2017, the NFL family has provided more than $244 million to 37 national grant partners and hundreds of grassroots organizations across the country, nearing its 10-year, $250 million commitment to social justice efforts.
All 32 recipients will receive a $10,000 donation to the social justice 501c3 nonprofit organization of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation.