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Special Project

Special Project
From the 2nd Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

NFL and United Way Character Playbook Powered by EverFi

Entered in Corporate-Community


Millions of young fans tune into NFL games, many of whom dream of becoming professional football players. Football's youngest fans often turn to the League for guidance as a cultural institution in society. With that exposure comes responsibility. While the NFL diverts efforts and resources to numerous issues, including youth health and wellness through the PLAY 60 campaign, breast cancer awareness, youth football development and military awareness, it has focused the last calendar year on Character Education. As character isn't necessarily, explicitly taught to students, the NFL is using schools and communities as the vehicle for educating young athletes and non-athletes, boys and girls, on the value of character building. Character Playbook, presented by the NFL & United Way partnership and powered by EverFi, is a digital, interactive education program that teaches middle school students in the U.S. how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships, make good decisions and step in when they see questionable activity. Recent research shows that 62 percent of teachers reported instances of bullying in their schools and a reported 70 percent of parents want their children to be taught about healthy relationships before the age of 13. To keep today's youth safe from harm, the NFL and United Way are addressing these issues head on with Character Playbook. The NFL's goal with Character Playbook is to engage young adults in an important conversation about building healthy relationships, bystander intervention, accountability, conflict-resolution and other important issues.

Strategy and Execution

Character Playbook was developed by the NFL and United Way Worldwide and is operated by EverFi, an education technology leader in more than 13,000 schools across the nation. The NFL wanted to evolve its 40+ year partnership with United Way Worldwide into something even more strategic and meaningful. Character education was a priority that met both organization's goals. The strategy behind Character Playbook is to model positive behavioral strategies and arm middle schoolers with skills for developing healthy, happy relationships as they engage in identity formation and experience new norms of behavior. The program uses evidence-based strategies to educate students on how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships during their critical middle school years by allowing students to engage with true-to-life scenarios that include bystander intervention strategies and positive relationship examples. Character Playbook is so unique because of the prevalence of the pervasive issues it addresses. Bullying, violence and other conflicts are real issues young adults are faced with, and Character Playbook underscores the immense need for programs that help kids understand how to manage emotions and communicate effectively. The six interactive, digital modules present an engaging, interactive and innovative way for students to learn about the following topics: analyzing influences, understanding and managing emotions, communicating effectively, resolving conflicts, stepping in and making decisions. Character Playbook is accessible by computer and tablet, making the process turnkey for students and teachers. The program contains formative assessments and pre- and post-surveys which are used to track knowledge gains and changes in attitudes and behaviors. An implementation team is on hand to assist schools through the onboarding process. The online modules are accompanied by robust offline lesson plans and discussion guides to extend the concepts and drive lasting impact. Additionally, the NFL is leveraging its visibility to expand the reach and impact of Character Playbook. This year, the program will be available in all 32 NFL markets.


Character Playbook was an enormous success in Year 1 and we look forward to expanding in Year 2. Our full National Impact Report is not yet public and can be found in another category below.

Highlights include:


Video for NFL and United Way Character Playbook Powered by EverFi

Entrant Company / Organization Name

National Football League


Entry Credits