HARRISON, N.J. – During the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup, Sky Blue FC hosted multiple fundraisers and auctions generating more than $13,500 for several charitable organizations.
That included The Audre Lorde Project, Athlete Ally, The Loveland Foundation, the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
Two days prior to the Challenge Cup, Sky Blue launched a new line of merchandise and the 2020 “Lightning Strikes” jersey. The club donated 10 percent of merchandise sales from the first two days of the launch to The Audre Lord Project, a center for community organizing among lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirit, trans and gender non-conforming people of color. The National Women’s Soccer League club will donate over $3,000 to The Audre Lorde Project.
The Sky Blue merchandise collection includes a Pride Pack that comes with a rainbow-colored skyline t-shirt and sticker. For every Pride Pack purchase, the club donates $10 to Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to the push for equality in sport for the LGBTGI+ community. Also in conjunction with Athlete Ally, Sky Blue hosted a Pride-themed trivia in which participants could join by either purchasing a Pride Pack or donating to the organization. Sky Blue has raised $900 to be donated to Athlete Ally.
Throughout the tournament, Sky Blue hosted an online auction for their secondary “Lightning Strikes” white jersey. The jerseys were worn during two Challenge Cup matches, signed by their respective players, then posted for bidding online. Donations from the auction were equally split between The Loveland Foundation and Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake. The Loveland Foundation serves to support communities of color, with a focus on black women and girls, while the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake helps raise awareness for and support Indigenous people and cultures throughout Utah. Upon conclusion, the auction raised more than $9,000 for the two organizations, with $4,700 being donated to each.
Prior to the first Challenge Cup match, Sky Blue players issued a statement surrounding Black Lives Matter and racial injustices. They announced that each player would donate to the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice every time the team scored a goal in the tournament. The commitment was part of the team’s ongoing effort to support the fight against police brutality and institutional racism in this country. After scoring a collective four goals throughout the Challenge Cup, the Sky Blue players donated a total of $480 to the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
Sky Blue’s official supporters group, Cloud 9, also raised money for charitable organizations during the competition. Cloud 9 is part of a coalition of NWSL supporters groups, which recently just announced an initiative known as ACTS (Activating Communities Through Support). Their chosen beneficiary during the tournament was Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake. The goal of ACTS was to use the cup in Utah to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Native Americans in the region and the efforts of the UICSL to address these challenges. The coalition had raised over $22,000 for UICSL. Cloud 9 alone accounted for more than $5,400 of the total pledged amount.