Dolphins owner Stephen Ross commits $13M to RISE

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is committing $13 million over the next four years to fight systemic racism through RISE, the nonprofit foundation he started in 2015.

"Growing up in Detroit, I saw firsthand what racism did to tear apart our community, destroy lives and further inequality," Ross said in a statement. "I started RISE based on the belief that our nation must address the scourge of racism directly to achieve true unity. Now more than ever, our mission and the need for this work is clear."

This commitment raises Ross' RISE funding to $30 million.

"During this time of national unrest, many individuals have stepped up to being part of the solution. Stephen continues to dedicate his time, resources and vision, as he has for decades, in an unwavering commitment to ending racism in partnership with the leadership, heart and influence of athletes globally," NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said. "Stephen's words are backed by his actions demonstrated by his body of work to advance equality, respect and understanding as a leader in the national dialogue on race and social justice."

Ross drew criticism in August 2019 when he hosted a $250,000-a-plate fundraiser luncheon for President Donald Trump at his home in New York. Then-Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills called Ross out, saying, "Someone has to have enough courage to let him know he can't play both sides of this."

Ross issued a statement then in response to the overall backlash saying that he has been friends with Trump for 40 years and that while they agree on some things, "we strongly disagree on many others" and that he has never been "bashful" about expressing his opinions to the president. He noted that he will "continue to be an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges."

RISE says its ultimate goal is to "educate and empower the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations." Its board includes the five American major sports commissioners and other key leaders across sports.

"In 2015, Stephen and I had several candid conversations about race; specifically, if people are born racist or if it's learned behavior. We both agreed that no one is born racist and that we needed to educate the younger generation if we were going to create change," said Warriors star Draymond Green, who has a long affiliation with RISE. "That's when Steve created RISE and I joined the board. RISE has had a real impact over the past five years and I commend Stephen for continuing to give his time and resources to combat systemic racism and continuing to move this fight forward."