NFL Legends Impact Grant Recipients announced

Three players awarded additional funding for their non-profit foundations ​

The NFL today announced the 2021 Legends Impact Grant recipients, which recognize the outstanding and ongoing philanthropic efforts of NFL Legends. Created in 2018, the award is a component of the NFL Foundation’s Player Foundation Grant initiative and supports NFL Legends’ commitment to making their communities healthy, happy and safe.

NFL Legends TWAN RUSSELLHARRY SYDNEY and CHRIS LONG were selected as the 2021 winners, and were awarded $50,000, $40,000, and $30,000, respectively for their foundations.

“NFL Legends continue to positively impact their communities each and every day,” said NFL Vice President of Philanthropy and Executive Director of the NFL Foundation, ALEXIA GALLAGHER. “We are proud of their philanthropic endeavors and on-going efforts to create meaningful change.” 

  • Founded in 1998, the Russell Education Foundation (REF) has maintained the centric goal of closing the achievement gap for low-income students in South Florida through afterschool and summer learning services. REF embraces many significant elements: learning is central to their mission, they build bridges between parents, schools and Russell Reading Rooms and they measure program quality outcomes appropriate to afterschool settings.
  • Created by Harry Sydney in 2003, My Brother’s Keeper is a Male Mentoring Program in Green Bay, WI. My Brother’s Keeper is dedicated to providing Straight Talk-Sound Direction mentoring services to assist individuals in dealing with hardships of life. Their fundamental goal is to help others live with integrity, respect, and standards; Sydney is committed to providing his clients with the knowledge and skills to make positive decisions and changes in their lives.
  • The mission of the Chris Long Foundation is to support bright futures for communities and the individuals that make up those communities. The Chris Long Foundation believes borders do not limit caring for fellow neighbors. They actively participate in and promote both international and domestic programs focused around clean water, military appreciation, homelessness, and youth. The Foundation programs aim to generate impactful results by creating opportunities and providing resources, financial support, and meaningful experiences to those they serve.

The Legend Impact Award winners were selected by a panel of distinguished individuals of the NFL Legends Community:

  • WARRICK DUNN: 3x Pro Bowler at running back and 2004 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Winner
  • CHAD PENNINGTON: 2x AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year, current head coach at the Sayre School and NFL Legends Community Executive Director
  • WILL SHIELDS: 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, 3x First-Team All-Pro at guard and founder of the “Will Succeed” Foundation
  • TROY VINCENT: 5x Pro Bowler, 2002 First-Team All-Pro at cornerback, 2002 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Winner and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations
  • LEONARD WHEELER: Eight-year NFL defensive back, current public speaker and coach, and NFL Legends Community Executive Director


The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit or follow @NFLFoundation on Twitter.


The NFL Legends Community, launched in 2013, provides unique opportunities and resources for Legends to engage year-round with the league, clubs and their teammates. Serving as a central resource for players to learn about programs and benefits available to them, the Legends Community uses a peer-to-peer model to foster one of the strongest brotherhoods in professional sports. Legends Community Directors and Coordinators lead the efforts across the country. To date, nearly 13,000 Legends have registered for the Legends Community.


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