Hometown Heroes program recognizes four nonprofits making a positive difference in their communities.
Every day, in cities across the country, local nonprofits work tirelessly—and often without much fanfare—to make a difference in their communities.
An initiative tied to the annual Major League Soccer (MLS) All-Star Game is helping to make sure those organizations receive the recognition they deserve.
Called the MLS All-Star Hometown Heroes Showcase , the program, entering its second year, recognizes the work of impactful organizations and leaders who are making positive change in the communities where the MLS All-Star Game is held. Each organization selected as a Hometown Hero receives a $15,000 grant and is recognized at an event the week of the MLS All-Star Game.
In 2023, the All-Star Game was hosted by Washington, D.C., and RBC Wealth Management–U.S. helped to celebrate the region’s local changemakers. Through the firm’s partnership with MLS, RBC Wealth Management was a presenting sponsor of the 2023 Hometown Heroes showcase in collaboration with D.C. United and Black Players for Change (BPC), an independent organization of Black MLS players, coaches and staff working to bridge the racial equality gap in soccer and society.
Beth Rafferty, director of the RBC Wealth Management branch in Washington, D.C., and a native Washingtonian, represented the firm on the Hometown Heroes selection committee alongside several MLS representatives and players.
“It was such a rewarding experience to work with MLS, D.C. United and Black Players for Change to recognize organizations dedicated to making Washington, D.C., a better place for all,” she says.
Over the course of spring 2023, Rafferty and the selection committee worked together to narrow down a list of Hometown Hero nominees. In reading and learning about each nonprofit, Rafferty was struck by the nominees’ wide range of focus, reach and impact.
“There are so many grassroots organizations in the region that are making a major difference,” she says. “It was inspiring to learn about each of the nominees and the great work they’re doing.”
The four Washington, D.C.-area organizations selected as 2023 Hometown Heroes were:
“Major League Soccer is honored to celebrate and acknowledge these deserving Hometown Heroes whose impact and love make the world brighter and safer for so many individuals, families and communities,” says Sola Winley, EVP of the MLS Commissioner’s Office and MLS Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer.
Rafferty, too, was honored to help shine a light on the important work being done by the 2023 Hometown Heroes.
“At RBC Wealth Management, supporting the communities where we live and work is a big part of our culture,” she says. “So I was proud to represent RBC on the selection committee and put our values into action to help lift up these important organizations.”
Photo: Representatives from RBC Wealth Management, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and Black Players for Change at an event celebrating the 2023 Hometown Heroes. Back row (left to right): Warren Bischoff, Mid-Atlantic complex director, RBC Wealth Management; Phillip Gyau, Howard University men’s soccer coach; Lincoln Phillips, former Howard University men’s soccer coach; Quincy Amarikwa, Black Players for Change executive director. Front row (left to right): Millie Perez, Latin American Youth Center, corporate relations manager; Glenda Fu Smith, So Kids Soar, executive director; Dr. Margaret Dureke, WETATi, founder, president and executive director; Dr. Ashlie Prioleau, Rainbow Families board of directors; Shanell Mosley, D.C. United, director of Community Relations & executive director at the D.C. United Foundation.
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