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Notre Dame Athletics and the CFP Foundation Go the Extra Yard for Teachers

September 25, 2017

Imagine how a million dollars in resources can boost educational efforts in elementary, junior high, middle school and high school classrooms around the country.

The University of Notre Dame almost assuredly will hit that goal this fall in the third year of the University’s collaboration with Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) initiatives sponsored by the College Football Playoff Foundation.

Through two years of participation, Notre Dame has led all NCAA institutions in both 2015 and 2016 in raising a combined $941,591–including more than a half-million dollars ($501,076) in 2016 alone.

Irish men’s basketball coach Mike Brey will play a key role in the 2017 programming when he serves as keynote Thursday for the Notre Dame EYFT banner ceremony at St. Anthony de Padua School in South Bend, Indiana–with the event designed to inspire a college-going culture.

In addition, Tim Brown, Notre Dame’s Heisman Trophy winner from 1987, is one of four former legendary college football players providing video messages to support the EYFT program.

In Notre Dame’s case, funds raised benefit the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program which provides support to teachers in urban contexts where a majority of students are low-income racial minorities.

The 2017 season marks the third consecutive year that the Notre Dame athletics department has partnered with the CFP Foundation in the EYFT initiative. In its second year of partnership in 2016, Notre Dame was one of 74 schools that participated in the program. Through its participation, the department brought in 726 gifts from 683 individual donors to raise $399,476, directly benefitting the ACE program. In addition, Notre Dame raised $1,600 for public school programs via the Donors Choose website. Those donations, coupled with a generous $100,000 match provided by the CFP Foundation resulted in a grand total of $501,076 raised for the 2016 campaign.

Notre Dame is once again supporting the EYFT initiative this weekend with informational tables located in the Fan Fest area inside the Joyce Center’s Heritage Hall where fans can learn about the ACE program. Members of the ACE program and staff, as well as representatives from the CFP Foundation, will be recognized during the football game Saturday against Miami (5 p.m. EDT at Notre Dame Stadium). Continuing the initiative throughout the football season, fans will also have an opportunity to make donations to EYFT and the ACE program on Oct. 21 (the day of the Notre Dame-USC football game at Notre Dame Stadium) at the Hammes Bookstore.

Between Sept. 24 and Dec. 31 all donations made to ACE will be matched (up to a $150,000 gift) by the CFP Foundation. Contributions to ACE may be made online ( or by texting NDACE to 41444.

The CFP Foundation over the period of Sept. 16-23 honored teachers (grades K-12) on college campuses and in stadiums across the country.

The CFP Foundation created EYFT Week in 2015 to bring awareness to the growing EYFT platform as well as provide an opportunity for universities, coaches and student-athletes to take part in its mission of elevating the teaching profession through inspiring and empowering teachers. In the event’s third year, the CFP Foundation is expecting a larger show of support for teachers than ever before.

This increase in support is largely due to the unique, impactful relationships that the CFP Foundation has built with the 10 FBS conferences and their member schools. Through these relationships, along with strong bowl game partnerships, college athletics has made a significant impression on K-12 education through EYFT. Since 2014, EYFT programming and events have impacted 3,033,144 students and 97,407 teachers in 12,902 schools across the country.

“We are focused on supporting teachers 365 days a year,” says Britton Banowsky, CFP Foundation executive director. “Extra Yard for Teachers Week is a special opportunity to highlight our impact on one of the most important and honorable professions. Through our partnerships with universities, conferences, bowls, ESPN and others, some truly great things are happening–but our teachers need more. They need our support, our respect and, in most cases, they need additional resources.”

On college campuses all over the country this week EYFT Week include teacher recognition on-field during various college football games, ESPN College GameDay segments featuring local teachers, helmet decals worn by student-athletes, testimonials from coaches and student-athletes about the impact of educators, funding of select classroom project requests and social media activation to engage fans and teachers.

In addition, the EYFT social channels feature specially produced vignettes from four college football legends: Brown, Troy Aikman (UCLA), Russell Maryland (Miami, Fla.) and Darren Woodson (Arizona State), discussing the pivotal role a teacher played in their development.

To join the social conversation, follow Extra Yard for Teachers on social media (Facebook: /CFPExtraYard; Twitter/Instagram: @CFPExtraYard), and use the hashtag #ExtraYardWeek.

The CFP Foundation is the charitable arm of the College Football Playoff, supporting education across the country. The CFP Foundation’s primary platform, EYFT, elevates the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering teachers through the implementation of programs in four focus areas: resources, recognition, recruitment and professional development. The CFP Foundation utilizes multiple partnerships to execute its initiatives and support positive educational outcomes.

The Notre Dame EYFT banner ceremony in 2016 took place at St. Adalbert Catholic School in South Bend, with the entire student body (230 students, 96 percent Latino), faculty, and staff participating (principal Andrew Currier is a former ACE teacher).

Kate Markgraf, a Notre Dame monogram winner and national champion soccer student-athlete, Olympic gold medalist and ESPN commentator, was the keynote speaker. She shared the academic struggles she experienced as a young girl, as her family frequently moved around the country, as well as other challenges she faced throughout her young life. She encouraged students to keep working hard, stay focused, listen to their parents and teachers–with a college education attainable for each of them. Paqui Kelly, wife of Irish head football coach Brian Kelly, also spoke to the students about her experience as an educator and a first-generation college graduate.

Last fall St. Adalbert applied for an ACE grant and received $2,500 that will allow the school to upgrade its science lab. Last October a group of St. Adalbert students attended the Notre Dame men’s soccer game versus North Carolina. Last spring, St. Adalbert took part in the Notre Dame athletics department’s camp scholarship program–with two students awarded summer camp scholarships based on their outstanding character, community service and academic excellence.