The Salvation Army & The Star

For more than 20 years, the Jones family and the Dallas Cowboys have worked to help those who do not have the strength, the resources, or the means to help themselves, with a primary focus on their partnership with The Salvation Army.
Jonas Brothers Red Kettle Kickoff

For more than 20 years, the Jones family and the Dallas Cowboys have worked to help those who do not have the strength, the resources, or the means to help themselves, with a primary focus on their partnership with The Salvation Army. 

Every year, the Jones family and Dallas Cowboys partner with The Salvation Army on a variety of outreach initiatives from youth programs at the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation Youth Education Town housed at The Salvation Army Arlington corps, to serving early Thanksgiving Day meals to hundreds of social service clients in Dallas and Fort Worth, providing thousands of Angel Tree gifts through the Christmas Assistance outreach, donating nearly $500,000 annually to The Army as part of the team’s game day 50/50 raffle program and much more.

Red Kettle Campaign and The Holiday Season 

Since 1997, The Salvation Army has served more than 703 million people through programs that address homelessness, food in-security, drug and alcohol abuse, human trafficking and more. In that same time period, and with the help of the Dallas Cowboys, the Red Kettle Campaign has raised more than $2.75 billion to aid in that work. 

In 1997, Charlotte Jones devised the National Red Kettle Kickoff, the annual launch of the Red Kettle Campaign, which raises awareness for The Salvation Army’s holiday efforts alongside halftime artist entertainment during the Cowboys’ nationally televised Thanksgiving Day Game with over 35 million viewers. Reba McEntire’s performance was the first in a tradition of acclaimed and award-winning musicians appearing at the Red Kettle Kickoff. Since then, performers have included Randy Travis, Destiny’s Child, Carrie Underwood, The Jonas Brothers, Kenny Chesney, Selena Gomez, Eric Church, Meghan Trainor and Kane Brown. Each year more than 80 volunteer bellringers fill AT&T Stadium for the annual Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game.

Red Kettle Kickoff - Salvation Army - Reba

Cowboys employees, players and alumni annually donate more than 120 hours of their time following the Red Kettle Kickoff to Red Kettle bell ringing each year. Since partnering with the Cowboys, donations to The Salvation Army have more than doubled nationally with the state of Texas leading the way. During the 2016 Red Kettle holiday season, Ezekiel Elliott spurred over $250,000 in donations for The Salvation Army by jumping into the oversized Red Kettle in the endzone as part of a touchdown celebration with the majority of those donations being in $21 increments to match his jersey number. In 2018, Elliott announced that he would match $21 donations after he dropped that total – a nod to his jersey number – into the same Red Kettle during his Thanksgiving touchdown celebration. In the same game, Dak Prescott joined Ezekiel Elliott in his donation efforts after Elliott lifted him into a Red Kettle following another Thanksgiving Day touchdown. He then matched $21 donations to The Salvation Army through his Faith Fight Finish Foundation. 

Each year, the week before Thanksgiving, Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones lead players and their families, cheerleaders, and Cowboys mascot, Rowdy, in serving an early Thanksgiving meal to hundreds of clients receiving assistance from The Salvation Army. With help from partners Albertsons and United Healthcare, the effort has served more than 9,200 meals. 

Continuing throughout the Red Kettle season, the entire Cowboys organization, its partners and associates support The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Players, coaches, executives and staff join corporate partners and leaseholders at The Star to purchase toys and necessities for hundreds of “Angels” in need. The program makes Christmas brighter for nearly 60,000 children and special needs senior citizens in the DFW Metroplex. 

Annual Contribution to the North Texas Area Command

In 2016, The Dallas Cowboys began hosting the 50/50 raffle program. Over the past 5 years, the proceeds from this program have been directed to The Salvation Army’s North Texas Area Command. Since its inception, the effort has raised more than $2 million dollars, with The Salvation Army receiving half of that amount to support a variety of initiatives from youth outreach to veteran’s assistance and domestic violence shelter programs.

Jerry Jones
Dallas Cowboys - Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Centers in DFW 

For over a decade, the Cowboys have partnered with The Salvation Army to open Play 60 Fitness Zones in Arlington, Plano, Garland and McKinney. In 2011, the Cowboys created the Fitness Zone and rebuild at The Salvation Army in Arlington, alongside chairman of the board, Emmitt Smith, as part of the construction of the North Texas Youth Education Town—a lasting legacy project of Super Bowl XLV with a matching million-dollar gift by The Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation. The Gene and Jerry Jones Family North Texas Youth Education Town opened in 2013, providing educational, athletic and arts programs to other services to hundreds of Arlington youth and their families. Since its inception, the YET annually participates in Play 60 Week, stadium tours, mentorship programs and more.

Disaster Relief 

When disaster strikes, The Salvation Army is often first on the scene to offer food, shelter, clothing, spiritual comfort and more. The Cowboys are proud to have assisted the Army in relief efforts in the DFW Metroplex and beyond. In response to Hurricane relief in 2017, $3 million was raised through a telethon held at AT&T Stadium. In October 2019, the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation and NFL Foundation presented a $1 million grant to Dallas ISD’s Thomas Jefferson High School to aid in the rebuilding of their athletic facilities after tornadoes struck the DFW area. Most recently, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dallas Cowboys utilized the 2020 NFL Draft to raise funds and awareness for The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 relief efforts. 

Collectively, the NFL Family has donated more than $100 million to various COVID-19 outreach efforts. The Dallas Cowboys also joined the Communities Foundation of Texas and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas for the global Giving Tuesday movement, #GivingTuesdayNow, which came to Dallas-Fort Worth as “North Texas Giving Tuesday Now” on May 5th. The 18-hour campaign raised more than $20.7 million for over 2,500 local nonprofits, with an additional $21.8 million raised for coronavirus relief funds. Specifically, the Dallas Cowboys focused on raising visibility and funds for The Salvation Army as well as other non-profits the team supports, including the North Texas Food Bank, the Baylor Scott & White-Dallas Foundation, Café Momentum and GetShiftDone.

Dallas Cowboys - Salvation Army
Dallas Cowboys - Salvation Army

The Salvation Army & Cowboys Partnership

The Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army have had a long-standing tradition of partnership and through the years have been able to strengthen their reach and community impact with a wide variety of community programs and events in tandem with various corporate partners including Albertsons, Tom Thumb, Essilor Vision Foundation, Reliant, UnitedHealthcare and more. Partner integration was a key component of maximizing volunteer efforts and community engagement, while strengthening the relationships between each partner, the Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army.

Annually, the Dallas Cowboys partner with Reliant Energy to host Reliant’s Home Run Derby charity baseball competition, benefiting the Salvation Army. Veteran Cowboys players take turns hitting home runs while Rookie players also attend, shagging baseballs in the outfield and hosting youth from The Salvation Army Youth Education Town in the stands. Since 2012, Reliant and the Dallas Cowboys have raised more than $330,000 for The Salvation Army and other local charities.

Dallas Cowboys and The Salvation Army

Most recently, in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, Whataburger kicked off their month-long fundraiser to help The Salvation Army fund children and youth programs, including their Project Tomorrow program, which provides scholarships for gifted and talented at-risk middle school and high school students. The kick-off event at the Salvation Army’s Youth Education Town included Whataburger meals and goodie bags for each of the kids and a visit from Dallas Cowboy Mascot Rowdy and Whataburger mascot, Whataguy. The fundraiser was part of Whataburger’s Feeding Student Success program, a company-wide initiative to support students across the communities the brand serves and resulted in a donation of $200,000, announced at halftime of the 2020 Cowboys’ game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

This article was published in the November 2021 issue of The War Cry.

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