From left to right, Anthony Harris, Steven Nelson, Rodney McLeod, Darius Slay, and T.J. Edwards pose for pictures.
By Jennifer McGraw, Sports Talk Philly Contributor
Where high fashion meets football and football meets philanthropy, this year’s “Sneaker Ball,” a staple of the Change Our Future foundation, is taking to new heights in Philadelphia to bring people together to continue advocating for the mission of the foundation.
Co-founders Rodney, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, and Erika McLeod, both wanted to keep their foundation growing and building change in the city of brotherly love. The Sneaker Ball is just one of the ways they intend to do so.
“It’s a great night to bring people with high fashion, high energy, but more importantly people who are for the cause and for the mission at hand and as I stated earlier that’s really focusing on our next-generation forming the generation of leaders to come. The leaders of change. The difference makers.” Rodney said.”As we celebrate the night we also wanna make sure we understand our purpose and why we are involved and called here as adults. It’s our call to action to support a lot of the programs that are now instilled in the Philadelphia community.”
The Sneaker Ball began last year as a major way to gain donations and support for the foundation. Everyone from players to guests pitched in money to help the education and advocacy efforts of Change Our Future. Eagles Jordan Mailata was one of the first to get the donations kicked off.
Last year’s Sneaker Ball raked in over $200,000 which went towards future Change Our Future programs. This year’s focus will be on sharing what the donations have done, such as implementing the “I Am” Youth Leadership Summit and Rodney’s “Next Man Up” men’s mentorship program. The McLeods will also share how much the continued support, further than just donations, impacted the growth of Change Our Future.
“I think for us we are very humbled by what we were able to receive last year from so many gracious people of the Philadelphia community and it speaks to the hearts and minds of so many out here who are passionate about the same things that Erika and I are standing up for and addressing,” Rodney said.
“There’s just so many exciting things that we have been building as a team that we internally are really excited for Change Our Future to kick off,” Erika said, talking about the impact of events like the Sneaker Ball.
Gone are the days of a less entertaining gala, the co-founders of Change Our Future kept things upbeat, fun and exciting throughout the night for this year’s event.
“You’re going to see a sneaker museum. We’re going to have different sneaker activations, we’re going to have incredible people there. We’re going to take you along this journey and be able to highlight various chefs around the city of Philadelphia which is something that people really raved about last year.” Rodney said.
One of the highlights of last year’s gala was the food, which included the Philly dessert shop, Nothing But Cheesecakes.
“I think after last year, hearing such great reviews and experiences that people had at our event, they were having fun and dancing. They were using the basketball hoops. They wanted more time of the event,” Erika said. “I think that is really, really heartwarming to see that not only what they came to was a gala that could’ve been just a snooze fest, they came and had a lot of fun and helped us raise money while doing it,”
This year’s Sneaker Ball will be tomorrow, July 7, from 7-10 p.m. at the Vie by Cescaphe.