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Free Education Program Brings Diversity & Inclusion to the Forefront of Classroom Conversations

April 2, 2021

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers, Florida Panthers Foundation, social justice nonprofit RISE, and Panthers' longtime education partner EVERFI are helping to bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront of the classroom with the launch of 'Diversity Foundations' in more than 200 high schools in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

EVERFI's Diversity Foundations education program, which includes resources from RISE—a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to be leaders of social justice, improving race relations, and eliminating racial discrimination—introduces students to key concepts of identity, bias, power and privilege. The free program equips teachers with the tools to foster enriching conversations surrounding these important topics and breaks down cost barriers for educators.

More than 20,000 students across Broward and Miami-Dade counties will be among the nation's first to receive this special academic program, which includes a series of digital lessons designed for 9th-12th grade students focused on building inclusive communities and creating cultures of respect.

In February, RISE and EVERFI announced a similar partnership with the Buffalo Sabres to bring the Diversity Foundations program to communities in Western New York.

"Sports can inspire a movement and create real change, and now it is again the time to use that power to unify our country to end racism," said RISE CEO Diahann Billings-Burford. "It starts with education, and at RISE, we are equipping the sports community and youth leaders with the knowledge and tools to be advocates for racial equity and social justice. When organizations like the Panthers, who are committed to action, amplify this work, they play an essential role in bringing diverse communities together to achieve long-term impact. It is clear the Panthers are dedicated to taking meaningful steps that bring sustained change, and we're excited and proud to partner with them."

"As an organization that prides itself on bringing people of all ethnicities and backgrounds together under a united 'One Territory' banner, we couldn't be more honored to be partnering with RISE and EVERFI to help carry these important values of respect, empathy, and inclusion to thousands of local students," said Florida Panthers Sr. Director of Community Relations and the Panthers Foundation John Colombo. "Through our longtime partnership with EVERFI, we've seen just how effective these programs can be, and Diverse Foundations has all the key elements needed to have a meaningful long-term impact on our local kids and communities they live in."

In 2020, the Panthers and EVERFI provided more than 13,000 K-12 Broward County students with free access to the Future Goals education program, which utilizes interactive hockey-related lessons to teach and improve STEM skills. Students who completed the Future Goals program showed a 77% improvement, on average, in their assessment tests in STEM fields.

"The national conversation on racial justice and equity is driving the most powerful demands for action, accountability and change that we've seen in a generation," said Jesse Bridges, EVERFI Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. "We're working with RISE to create a digital learning experience that teaches the critical life skills of valuing diversity, collaborating across differences, and being an ally. By amplifying their critical conversations on social justice, removing the cost barriers for educators and students, and doing so at scale; we're able to empower this generation with the information and skills to be a part of this moment and movement toward a more equitable society."

Diversity Foundations enrollment is now open for teachers in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Educators who are interested in incorporating this program into their classrooms can sign up free of charge at everfi.com/k-12/teachers. For additional resources, visit risetowin.org.

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