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Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long will be donating his first six game checks of the season to his home town of Charlottesville, Virginia to help fund scholarships for local students.
The scholarships will provide two students with the ability to attend Long’s alma mater, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, for a seven-year, all-expenses-paid education. Long and his wife Megan said that the goal of the scholarship is to promote education equity, and will be awarded to two members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia.
“In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry,” Long said in the statement. “Megan and I decided to try to combat those actions with our own positive investment in our community.”
The white nationalist rallies that broke out in Charlottesville over the summer left a lasting impression on Long, who spoke out in the days after calling the rallies “despicable.”
Long is no stranger to charity or activism. The Chris Long Foundation has been running since 2015 and has worked on multiple initiatives from digging clean water wells in Africa to supporting local youth programs in his hometown. Long also made headlines this year when he put his arm around teammate Malcolm Jenkins as Jenkins held his fist in the air during the national anthem.
“I think it’s a good time for people that look like me to be there for people that are fighting for equality,” he said after the first time he stood with Jenkins, a pregame ritual the pair have kept so far in the season. “I was inspired by a lot of the allies that were there to stand up against hate in my hometown and I wasn’t able to be there to protest or to stand up against hate.”
Now, Long is supporting equality in a different way, hoping to provide kids with an education they likely would’ve never been able to have access to without a scholarship.