For more than 40 years, United Way and the National Football League have worked together to improve the lives of young people across the country. In New York City, United Way of New York City (UWNYC), the New York Giants, and the New York Jets have partnered to impact children and families living in some our City’s most-challenged neighborhoods. We did this through comprehensive programs including UWNYC’s ReadNYC initiative to improve grade-level reading by third grade and the NFL Play60 campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.

In 2017, United Way and the NFL launched “Character Playbook”—an initiative to help middle school students develop and nurture healthy relationships while making strong decisions.


For 25 years now, United Way of New York City, the New York Giants, and the New York Jets have come together for the Gridiron Gala. The Gala is a celebration of the impact our partnership has achieved and a call to the future for continued collaboration to help our most-deserving neighbors—the kids that live across our five boroughs.

Join us as we celebrate our silver anniversary and renew our commitment to tackling our City’s toughest challenges.

Be a part of our partnership, and together, we can make an impact!



United Way of New York City (UWNYC) has been a trusted partner to government, corporations and community-based organizations for 80 years. Serving low-income New Yorkers, UWNYC’s collective impact approach enables the diagnosis of neighborhood challenges and the design of solutions to expand education, financial stability, and health opportunities. UWNYC then deploys resources and volunteers while also driving policy change that is guided by measured results. UWNYC envisions caring communities where all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives.

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Research shows us how important the middle school years are for developing the academic skills that enable long-term success, including high school graduation. But this critical time is also a transitional moment for students as they enter adolescence, a time when they are influenced more by their peers than by their families.

Character Playbook—Building Healthy Relationships is a digital course that uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships. The course allows students to engage with true-to-life scenarios that include bystander intervention strategies and positive relationship examples.

Values like diligence, compassion and respect are not necessarily innate values—they are learned through experience and teaching. And it’s on us all to provide the skills and modeling to inspire this character at a young age.

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A child’s ability to read by third grade directly impacts his or her future. Third grade is the year kids move from learning to read to reading to learn. Unfortunately, children from low-income families often don’t have access to quality education. In fact, research shows us that children from low-income families may hear up to 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers by age three, and more than 60% of low-income families don’t have children’s books at home. Inevitably, this gap and lack of books impacts children’s performance at school: sadly in New York City, six out of 10 students are not reading on grade-level. Moreover, children who don’t read on grade-level by third grade are 74% more likely to drop out of high school—more likely to find themselves struggling to make ends meet as adults and continuing a devastating cycle of poverty.

To break this cycle of poverty, we know we must help families and communities as a whole, from the child who can’t read, to the educators who are under-resourced, to the parents who can’t make ends meet. Our ReadNYC program takes a powerful collective approach— bringing together companies, nonprofit partners, foundations, government agencies, and individuals like you to the table, to set a unified, full-spectrum strategy—that’s fighting for literacy by building access to quality education for children while empowering their parents’ or caregivers’ abilities to form more stable homes.

Your investment in United Way of New York City is crucial to our success and we invite you to join us in this work and make an impact today!

Join Our Fight


Join us in our work and in this celebration. Become a sponsor of the Gridiron Gala.
Customized sponsorship packages are available.