UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP: Sky Blue FC, NJ Institute for Social Justice

HARRISON, N.J. – Sky Blue FC Tuesday announced it will play for the Newark-based non-profit New Jersey Institute for Social Justice in the 2020 Verizon Community Shield during the 2020 NWSL Fall Series.

The partnership between the National Women’s Soccer League and Verizon during the Fall Series features all nine clubs partnering with small businesses or programs in their community. The team with the most points at the conclusion of the NWSL Fall Series will win $25,000 for their community partner and be awarded the Verizon Community Shield. The second-place team will win $15,000 and the third-place team will win $10,000 for their community partner thanks to NWSL partner Verizon.

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice was established in 1999 by Alan V. and Amy Lowenstein. NJISJ seeks to empower people of color in New Jersey with its cutting-edge racial and social advocacy. The Institute focuses on exposing and fixing issues of structural racism that have been embedded in communities locally in ways that can be replicable across the nation.

“We are honored that Sky Blue FC has chosen the Institute to partner with for this challenge,” Ryan Haygood, president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said in a statement. “Especially during these times, it is heartening to have our cutting-edge racial justice work be recognized by a team with such heart. We wish Sky Blue much luck on the field!”

Sky Blue FC players selected the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice for the Verizon Community Shield partnership after working with the organization during the NWSL Challenge Cup. Prior to the first Challenge Cup match, Sky Blue players issued a statement surrounding Black Lives Matter and racial injustice.

“I am so excited to be working with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice once again this Fall Series,” defender Imani Dorsey said in a statement. “The Institute does phenomenal work explaining how systemic racism affects the Black experience in America and develops policy to address these discrepancies. I hope our partnership with the Institute can further highlight the hard work they do to advocate for social justice and equality.”

As part of the partnership, Sky Blue FC and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice are hosting a Zoom video panel Oct. 12. The panel entitled “Chaos or Community: Where Do We Go From Here?” features a conversation between Sky Blue player Imani Dorsey and Haygood.

Sky Blue FC plays its final match of the Fall Series against the Chicago Red Stars Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.