During the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup campaign, Sky Blue FC hosted multiple fundraisers and auctions generating over $13,500 for various charitable organizations including 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 committed to donating 10% 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. After a record-breaking two days of merch sales, Sky Blue will be donating 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. The Pride Pack is still available in the Sky Blue store and can be purchased here. 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. Overall, Sky Blue has thus far 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 over $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 played a large part in raising money for charitable organizations during the Challenge Cup. 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 Challenge Cup was Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake. The goal of ACTS was to use the tournament in Utah to raise awareness for 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 over $5,400 of the total pledged amount.
The Challenge Cup provided Sky Blue FC, along with its players and fans, a unique opportunity to help support underrepresented groups this summer. The Club would like to thank all those who participated in the fundraisers.