S6:EP12–Anna Isaacson, Sr. VP Social Responsibility, NFL

Join us for S6:EP12 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast as Anna Isaacson, Senior VP of Social Responsibility for the NFL sits down with our host; Roy Kessel to highlight the work that the league is doing through its CSR initiatives.

As Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility for the National Football League, Anna directs the league’s social, charitable and philanthropic endeavors, including how the NFL addresses social justice, domestic violence, sexual assault and other critical societal issues. She also oversees the work of the NFL Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. 

In this role, she oversees the development of a full range of education, training and support programs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, character education and others topics to reach both members of the NFL family and the broader society. 

Anna was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  She earned a BA in history from Barnard College and now lives in Manhattan with her husband, son and daughter. 

In 2018 she led the development of Inspire Change, a new social justice campaign focused on opening access to opportunity for communites across the country. She launched My Cause My Cleats in 2016 to highlight the hundreds of philanthropic and civic-minded players in the NFL. She also spearheads the NFL’s cancer platform, Crucial Catch, as well as many of the initiatives that fall under NFL PLAY 60, the league’s effort to combat youth obesity across the nation. She developed the NFL’s unified military appreciation campaign, Salute to Service in 2011. Anna is also responsible for developing and directing corporate social responsibility activities that take place at NFL Draft, Kickoff, Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl. Her perview includes managing NFL Auction, the official auction site of the NFL and a digital platform that donates 100% of its net proceeds to support NFL, team and player charities.  

For more than a decade, Anna was co-chair of the NFL’s Diversity Council, a committee tasked to oversee many of the league’s diversity-related initiatives such as the founding of the NFL’s first employee resource group, the Women’s Interactive Network (WIN).  Under her direction, these “affinity” groups haves expanded to include others such as the Black Engagement Network (BEN),  PRIDE, Community Teammates and and the Asian Professional Exhchange (APEX). 

Prior to joining the NFL, Anna spent five years working in community relations and other capacities for the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball club, minor league affiliate of the NY Mets. At the Cyclones, Anna developed a range of community initiatives and events including the founding of the Brooklyn Baseball Gallery—a small museum dedicated to the history of Brooklyn baseball.  

Anna Isaacson
Sr/ VP Social Responsibility
National Football League


The National Football League Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation and its members, the 32 NFL clubs, support the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game.

The NFL Foundation has an array of initiatives and there is an emormous depth to the resources on their website:

  • Grant Programs
  • Youth Football
  • Community
  • Health and Safety
  • Character and Education
  • Digital Divide Grant Application
  • Player Matching Youth and High School Football Grants

Some interesting data points from the NFL Foundation

  • 2.6 million impacted
  • 45 programs
  • 416 fields built
  • $553 million contributed

Click here for the 2021 NFL Social Responsibility Report

S6:EP12: Anna Isaacson joins our host Roy Kessel on the Sports Philanthropy Podcast

Highlights of Anna’s Podcast

  • 00:15 Introduction and background
  • 00:45 She was never an athlete
  • 02:00 Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • 03:00 Knowing what role you want in sports
  • 05:30 Most important traits for the role in sports
  • 07:00 Building important relationships
  • 09:00 Making decisions with scarce resources
  • 11:00 Understanding how to approach the NFL for donations
  • 14:30 Current NFL initiatives
  • 16:30 Honors for social justice in club markets
  • 17:30 Size of NFL Social Responsibility department
  • 19:30 Process for applications for grants
  • 20:45 Relationship with USA Football
  • 22:00 Behind the scenes work for league initiatives and measuring impact
  • 22:30 How to highlight the generosity of owners
  • 24;30 Best place to get more info on NFL initiatives
  • 26:30 Selecting events to spotlight at Super Bowl and other major events

Social Media

  • Website:  https://nfl.com/community
    • https://www.nflfoundation.org/
    • https://www.nflfoundation.org/applications/grant_programs
    • https://www.nflfoundation.org/community
    • https://www.nflfoundation.org/grassroots
  • Twitter: @NFL345 and @nflfoundation  and @NFLUP
  • Instagram: CR social handle: @NFLintheCommunity and @NFLUP


Evan Dabby of New Jersey Youth Soccer joins our host Roy Kessel on S6:EP13 of the Sports Philanthropy Podcast.

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel is the Founder of the Sports Philanthropy Network. Roy has worked in the sports business world for over 20 years including serving as an instructor in Northwestern University's graduate Sports Management Program. Having served as a sports lawyer representing athletes, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, Roy has extensive experience helping organizations improve their strategy, marketing, communications and leadership development.
Sports Philanthropy Network

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