The Welcome Home Luncheon is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, and on Wednesday it lived up to that designation, and then some.
The Charitable Foundation, which strives to make a positive and measurable impact in the lives of children in the Washington, D.C., area, raised $750,000 at the 57th annual event that highlights the work the team does both in the community and on the field.
That was due in large part to the matching grants donated by Redskins owner Dan Snyder and the Kellar Family Foundation, which promised to match every dollar up to $100,000 for anyone able to give back to WRCF.
Snyder immediately accepted the challenge and matched with a $100,000 gift. The donations will aid the Loads of Love (LOL) Program, which aims to install laundry facilities in schools and non-profit organizations to directly impact children experiencing homelessness or an unstable living situation at no cost to them or their families.
The goal is to remove a barrier for child attendance and participation in programs and sports by providing them a discreet solution to the challenge of having clean clothes.
"We decided to get involved in a big way and try to get others to join us in eradicating this need in our community," said Casey Box, a member of the Kellar Family Foundation.
The Welcome Home Luncheon, which took place at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington, D.C., is the only event where fans and corporate partners alike got to spend time with the organization, including players, the coaching staff, cheerleaders and the alumni.
Joining the Redskins at this year's Welcome Home Luncheon was Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, who spoke briefly about the Redskins' impact on the city, and was joined by members of the city council. Using her platform to her advantage, Bowser advocated for the Redskins new stadium to return home to the nation's capital and join the three other major sports teams there.
"There's no exaggeration to what's happening in the sports capital this year in 2018," Bowser said. "But what we think is there is something missing. Here in the district we're not shy about partnering with our teams to make sure that they get homes befitting their players, staff, fans and visitors in the greatest residence in the world in Washington, D.C. We don't just do it for the teams, however, we do it for the people who work there, for the community, for the catalytic effect that they have on neighborhoods across Washington, D.C.
"We want you to be home," Bowser said. "That's why I wanted to be here to welcome you, but also leave you with a phrase that became very popular last night in Florida from Andrew Gillum: 'Bring it home.'"
The team then announced its annual award winners at the event, highlighting their on-field performances and contributions off the field:
· Bobby Mitchell Offensive Player Of The Year: Right Tackle Morgan Moses
· Sam Huff Defensive Player Of The Year: Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan
· Mark Moseley Special Teams Player Of The Year: Safety Deshazor Everett
· Redskins Salute Award: Elaine Rogers
· Community Man Of The Year: Nick Sundberg
While actor and Redskins fan Matthew McConaughey wasn't able to attend as previously planned, he did share a video message with the large audience to discuss his work and jk livin foundation's partnership with the Redskins.
In his place, the event's emcee Lindsay Czarniak took the stage with legendary Hall of Fame running back John Riggins, and the two discussed a wide range of topics, which started by plugging his new podcast, “Riggo The Diesel,” and discussing his various acting stints.
The conversation eventually made its way to football – talking about the prospects for the 2018 team and reflecting on memories from his playing days as well.
"I'm still celebrating," Riggins said what it's like to win a championship. "Maybe we'll have something a little more current this year."