Our History

The National Football League has a long-standing tradition of giving back to the community. In 1973, NFL Charities - the first 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established by a major professional sports league – was created as a way for the League and the 32 member clubs to collectively make grants to charitable and worthwhile causes on a national scale.

In 1998, the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) formed the NFL Youth Football Fund (YFF) — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation created to support the game at the youth level, promote positive youth development and ensure the health of football in future generations. Through NFL Charities and the NFL Youth Football Fund, the NFL provided hundreds of millions of dollars to worthy causes and organizations.

In 2012, the NFL decided to make changes to the structure of its philanthropic organizations. The NFL Youth Football Fund was merged with NFL Charities and then renamed the National Football League (NFL) Foundation. The decision to restructure the NFL’s philanthropic efforts under one, nonprofit entity allowed the charitable organization to be more efficient and make a greater impact.

Today, the NFL Foundation’s commitment to philanthropy builds on the history of NFL Charities and the NFL Youth Football Fund. It serves as the NFL’s nonprofit arm, dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football in conjunction with the NFL’s 32 clubs who are members of the Foundation and several NFL owners who serve as Board members. The NFL Foundation supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes across all levels, including youth football and the communities that support the game.

Celebrating 50 years, the NFL Foundation has become one of the leading philanthropic entities in America, contributing to NFL team communities, national and international disaster relief efforts, and societal issues. The league is utilizing this anniversary to amplify the impact of NFL Philanthropy and the progress made by our nonprofit entities.