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Every Child Matters - NLL

National Lacrosse League

2023 Nominee ✨
  • Excellence in Multicultural Storytelling


The National Lacrosse League in partnership with the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition partnered to develop a three-week campaign to raise funds and increase awareness of both fans and league constituents of the atrocities of residential/boarding schools for the Indigenous populations in the United States and Canada.

All 15 teams participated in the activation over the three weeks and included some of their own programming.

How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

This campaign helps represent and often forgotten people who have claims to the land we play our games on. They have endured 100s of years of oppression and neglect with oftentimes, no acknowledgment in the classroom or in everyday life.

As the original creators of our game, these groups of individuals suffer higher rates of suicide, domestic abuse, and substance abuse while living in poor conditions with poor education. This activation included not just Indigenous people or players, but all members of the NLL community, including fans.

We continue to find new ways to honor the game and people whether it is a blanket ceremony or land acknowledgment during games. This is just one issue plaguing these people but by acknowledging it, it helps explain the multitude of problems this demographic faces. This teaches our fans, players, executives, and more, to do more homework, be actively curious and ask questions with the right intent.



Our objective was to create an authentic campaign to raise awareness and funds for a cause that is deeply rooted in our game. Many of our players, executives and owners have ties with their families to the residential school system in North America and were wanting to raise awareness on the cause. Many fans and individuals in our ecosystem are unaware of these atrocities as they are rarely taught in school. We provided a unique opportunity to educate them utilizing our resources.

Strategy & Execution

The NLL worked to create a new logo with the help of an Indigenous designer to lead our campaign. The logo has been used as a catalyst and storyteller of what the cause is about. Every team was given warmup shirts in orange and helmet decals. Broadcasters and coaches wore orange ties and lapel pins. During the games, we aired features on broadcast about Indigenous causes and topics relating to residential and boarding schools. Look and feel of our social media, broadcasts, website and email reflected the campaign. Written content was placed on NLL.com and many teams held Indigenous Heritage theme nights, making the full night about the history of our sport and the relations with the local indigenous populations. Fans could purchase replicas of the warmup shirts through our partnership with Fanatics, with the proceeds going to both non-profit partners.


  • National Lacrosse League
  • Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund
  • National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
  • Kuvua Designs
  • Fanatics


Ryan Ireland
Marketing and Communications Manager
National Lacrosse League

Darren Sudman

Dennis Knowles
Senior Director eCommerce

Justin Gilbert
Owner and Operator
Kuvua Design

Brad Angerman
National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

Jenna Courage
Development Associate
Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund

Amanda Charles
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund

Brett Frood
National Lacrosse League

Joel Feld
Executive Vice President, Broadcast & Content
National Lacrosse League

Tina Cerbone
Director, Producer, Show Producer, and Researcher
TC Productions, LLC

Joe Favorito
Strategic Communications Consultant
National Lacrosse League

Scott Zolotorow
Coordinating Producer
National Lacrosse League

Jeff Tinkoff
Graphic Designer
National Lacrosse League

Caitlin Scully
Commercial Partnerships Manager
National Lacrosse League

Matt Mika
Senior Video Producer/Editor
National Lacrosse League

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