July 15, 2015 - The Chicago Bulls announced today that they have been named the inaugural ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year. The award, which was presented at a ceremony in Los Angeles last night, celebrates and recognizes how members of the sports industry use sport to serve communities and make a positive impact.
“The Bulls feel a great sense of responsibility to give back to the city of Chicago and the people who give so much to us. The team’s commitment to helping others has been steadfast for many years, but it has been incredible to watch our work evolve and flourish over the last few years under Michael and Nancy’s leadership. I am very proud of the terrific job they have done engaging players, coaches, staff, corporate partners and community partners with the goal of helping others,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairman. “We thank ESPN for this incredible honor and for recognizing the positive impact sports teams can have in a community.”
During the 2014-2015 season, the Bulls organized over 100 community events focused on youth education, youth health and wellness, violence prevention, and the military and impacted the lives of more than 30,000 people. This work was done by more than 1,350 volunteers who dedicated more than 6,500 hours of their time. The Bulls, working with partners including the McCormick Foundation, also distributed $2.5 million in cash and in-kind donations in support of local nonprofits.
ESPN will present a $75,000 grant to the team’s charity, Chicago Bulls Charities, which will be distributed among three Chicago Bulls community partners that are making a significant impact within the team's three areas of focus: After School Matters (youth education), The Salvation Army Kroc Center (youth health and wellness), and Youth Guidance (violence prevention).
“Being a good neighbor and supporting our community are at the core of who the Chicago Bulls are as an organization,” said Michael Reinsdorf, President & Chief Operating Officer. “This award recognizes the shared commitment of our players, front office, and fans to help those in need.”
"The Chicago Bulls work year round to establish deep connections and maintain strong relationships with nonprofit organizations, families and kids throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods,” said Nancy Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls Charities President. “The work done by our players and front office staff, led by the tireless efforts of our Community Relations Department, ensures that we can achieve our long-term goal of having a positive, sustainable impact on our city."
The Bulls were one of four nominees for the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award. Other nominees were the Portland Timbers (MLS), San Francisco 49ers (NFL), and WWE Community Relations. Fans can watch highlights of the awards ceremony on ESPN on July 23 at 7:30 p.m. CST.