Rodney and Erika McLeod expand their mission through mentorship with Next Man Up
Superbowl LII Champion and former Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod and his wife Erika McLeod have dedicated a lot of their efforts to creating opportunities to give back to the youth.
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In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, they founded their non-profit organization, the Change Our Future Foundation. The goal of Change Our Future is to “empower youth through education, advocacy and developmental programs.” Through unique programs and fundraisers like their annual fundraiser Sneaker Ball and the I Am Youth Leadership Summit, the McLeods have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for those in need. They have also donated sneakers and school supplies, and have provided countless hours of mentorship to school age children. Their latest initiative under the Change Our Future umbrella is called Next Man Up. Next Man Up is a youth mentorship program designed to provide opportunities for young Black men, while eliminating gaps in the system that perpetuate vicious negative cycles. The McLeods spoke with the SUN about the importance of the Next Man Up program and what they hope it will achieve. The Change Our Future Foundation’s mission to serve young people in need continues to expand. Rodney shared some of the startling statistics that acted as a catalyst for creating Next Man Up. “Next Man Up is a mentorship program that serves young men of color, specifically 9th and 10th graders,” he said. “The reason why we decided to start this program is because of two statistics that were very alarming to us. One being that there’s only 5.5% of college students that are Black males. Then there’s only 58% of Black boys that graduate high school on time. When you look at those statistics, we have to figure out how do we solve this issue. We felt the best way to do that was to form Next Man Up.”