Community engagement shows impact of rams on Greater LA all year round


Molly Higgins, vice president of community affairs and engagement, Los Angeles Rams.

Photo by Ryan Forbes

Under normal circumstances – if such a thing exists for a National Football League franchise – this would be an eventful year for Molly Higgins. As the vice president of community affairs and engagement for the Los Angeles Rams, she leads the organization’s community outreach efforts, a task that gained momentum when she moved with the team. from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

“The first difference (between the two cities) that strikes you is probably that LA is so big,” she said.

Higgins adapted his efforts to the region. In 2020, she helped run a campaign to raise over $ 3 million for nonprofit partners of The Rams and which saw players and coaches raise and donate an additional $ 1.5 million, and front office staff have committed to nearly 1,200 hours of community service. She also helped organize three meal distribution events providing food to 7,300 families.

Still, 2020 is pale compared to what awaits her and the Rams this year as the team prepares to host Super Bowl LVI on February 13.

And although she admitted that it had been a “super hectic” time, she said it with an undeniable note of excitement in her voice – a little dizzy because catching the world’s spotlight will allow the team. to “take advantage of this special time in Los Angeles”.

Highlight the coil

Part of that effort will be providing grants to 56 local nonprofits to help them continue their work, including marketing so that “other Angelenos are inspired to support them.” The number 56 is intentional because it will be the 56th Super Bowl, and it will also allow the organization to “spotlight so many people in Los Angeles who are doing a great job.”

Local organizations the Rams have reached include the downtown-based Homeboy Industries, the downtown-based Sisters of Watts and Eastside Riders Bike Club, as well as Habitat for Humanity for Greater Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. based in Vernon.

“We really see ourselves as a civic entity, who want to win both on and off the pitch,” she said. “When we are in the community, this commitment is essential for the development of our fans”

Higgins described the organization’s approach to fan development as relationship building. Kids exposed to the brand end up buying merchandise and tickets, and as they get older, buy season tickets and suites, she said.

“Being in the community not only allows us to make a difference, it allows us to be sustainable,” she added.

Playing by ear

Getting to this intersection of community and commerce is not easy; in fact, Higgins said, it requires “a thoughtful approach.” That’s why, in 2016, when the team relocated from St. Louis, rather than launching out, they asked Rams COO Kevin Demoff to allow them to go on their own tour. listening in the region.

This may have surprised some who thought Higgins was so good at his job – under his leadership, the Rams were named St. Louis Philanthropic Organization of the Year by the St. Louis Reginal Chapter of the Association of Fundraising. Professionals – that she could just hook up in Los Angeles what she did in St. Louis.

“They are two totally different markets,” she said. “I really wanted to understand the needs of the community (LA). I told Kevin that was the only way to go if we really wanted to build a foundation.

The listening tour ended up being important for Higgins personally, as she admits to having preconceptions about Southern California, including the oft-heard assumption that everyone in the area is involved in the entertainment.

“I was one of those people who thinks LA is just Hollywood and Beverly Hills,” she said. “I’ve learned it’s… so much more balanced with amazing people. Strangely enough, I discovered that although it is a large area, it is really a small community. I was at an event and someone was like, “May I introduce you to X, Y, and Z?” And … very quickly, you felt part of it.

Efforts are expected to intensify as February 13 approaches, when LA hosts its first Super Bowl since 1993. And given that the team themselves could eventually appear in the game, things could get completely crazy.

“I’m looking forward to this madness,” Higgins said. “I’m an optimist, and if the team was successful it would be an incredible problem to have. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but we’re always looking for more. More success, more opportunities. We’re just excited for the future. We really want to be more than a football team.

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