Joining The Movement

W&L Football Team Raises Funds For Ted DeLaney Youth Grant

Inspired by the national movement to combat racial injustice, the Washington and Lee University football team decided to organize a virtual 5-kilometer run/walk to raise money for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Ted DeLaney Youth Opportunity Grant.

The fundraiser, organized by players and coaches following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25 and deaths of other Black Americans during interactions with police, raised about $8,833 for the grant, with 171 participants and additional donors.

The grant was named after Lexington native Ted Delaney, a 1985 W&L graduate and professor emeritus of history. DeLaney, who started work at W&L as a janitor, eventually became the first Black department chair at W&L.

The purpose of the grant is to promote racial equality and equal educational opportunities for community members in need. The grant is open to residents of Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista, between the ages of 9-21.

Addressing the football team’s decision to organize the 5K, which could be run or walked on any route and anytime from June 24 to July 11, W&L head football coach Garrett LeRose said the football team’s leadership council, which includes team captains, proposed holding the fundraiser after brainstorming ideas to support racial equality.

“This was motivated by the national climate,” LeRose said. “We chose to do something actionable, to find something to uplift the community and make a positive impact.”

In a statement released by W&L, rising senior running back and team captain Josh Breece said the 5K fundraiser “is a small first step for the W&L football team as it leads the way for committing action towards words. We will take every opportunity to publicly and explicitly denounce all forms of white supremacy, systemic racism and other forms of prejudice against underrepresented communities, and develop action items to discard all levels of racism and prejudices, including micro-aggressions and implicit bias.”