The Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid Back to School Bash, sponsored by the D.C. United Foundation, provided 1500 backpacks filled with art and school supplies to students ahead of the new school year. Courtesy of D.C. United

By Melissa Silverman 

On September 21, the D.C. United Foundation officially relaunched after a six year hiatus, armed with a new mission to pursue equality and make an economic and social impact within Washington DC and the surrounding Maryland and Virginia areas. 

“The foundation will be centered around working with programs and partners to level the playing field using the power of sport,” said Shanell Mosley, Executive Director of the D.C. United Foundation. “As a professional sports team we have the ability – and the duty – to create change in our community.” 

Mosley credited DC SCORES, D.C. United’s official charitable partner, for playing an integral role in reestablishing the D.C. United Foundation, and said the collaboration will be ongoing. 

Ahead of the official relaunch, the D.C. United Foundation hosted two community events, an inaugural golf classic and an open practice ahead of the international friendly between D.C. United and Germany’s FC Bayern Munich. 

“We got straight to work,” Mosley said. “We wanted to put people first, so for one of our first impact events, in August, we hosted a Back to School Bash [at Audi Field in Southwest] which reached more than 450 individual families. Along with Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid, we distributed 1500 comprehensive backpacks filled with art and school supplies and 500 tablets and laptops to students in our community.” 

Mosley brings 14 years of experience in the nonprofit space to her role leading the foundation, building a career that began as an AmeriCorps volunteer and an afterschool program director, up to a position as Deputy Director of Sports Partnerships at UNICEF USA. 

“As a military kid, we moved around quite a bit. Sport was the one constant thing for my family and I,” Mosley said. “I learned early on about the power a ball has. In fact, wherever you drop a ball, there will likely be kids. With soccer being such a global sport, there is an immense amount of power that it has including the ability to bring people together for a common goal.”

The foundation will be hosting a listening tour with local nonprofits and charitable organizations as it begins to ramp up its work this fall. 

“As we head into the holiday season, coming through COVID, the pandemic has changed a lot of families’ circumstances,” Mosley said. “I see us working in an untraditional way, and that makes me excited. There is so much more a professional soccer team can do. This is our shot to create transformational change for and with our community.” 

For community members interested in learning more or following the work of the foundation, a website is now live at Mosley said that contributing “doesn’t have to be donating millions of dollars. It means being a good neighbor, and part of that means looking out for each other and finding out how you can help each other when it is needed most.” 

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