On December 4, the Green Bay Packers Foundation (GBPF) released the names of their annual grant fund recipients, prompting harsh criticism when it was discovered one of the organizations they donated to was Planned Parenthood.
As LifeNews noted, “The Packers foundation made a record-setting $2.05 million in donations to organizations, most of which are non-controversial charities that help with ‘the need areas of animal welfare, civic and community, environmental, health and wellness including drug/alcohol and domestic violence causes.’”
In announcing the grants, the foundation stated, “This year’s grant cycle focused on organizations that will direct the funds toward the need areas of animal welfare, civic and community, environmental, health and wellness including drug/alcohol and domestic violence causes. In 2020, the focus areas will be elderly, homelessness, human services and hunger causes.”
The Foundation, founded in 1986 by Judge Robert J. Parins, stated its mission was to “support charities possessing one or more of the following goals: perpetuates a community environment that promotes families and the competitive value of athletics; contributes to player and fan welfare; ensures the safety and education of children; and/or prevents cruelty to animals.”
Pro-Life Wisconsin, which alerted LifeNews to the donation, said the donation to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin “directly contradicts this mission,” adding, “If the foundation truly wanted to promote families and ensure the safety of children, they would not be financially investing in an organization that violently destroys children’s lives each and every day. Any perceived benefit Planned Parenthood provides to society is wiped out every time they kill a baby, which in their case is 4,639 times a year in Wisconsin alone. In just one day, they wipe out the approximate equivalent of an entire football team.”
In 2018, Sports Illustrated noted the unique status of the Packers among all professional sports teams:
The Packers pride themselves on being the only publicly-owned, not-for-profit, major league professional team in the United States. Instead of having one owner or a handful of partners like every other NFL team, the Packers are owned by hundreds of thousands of fans. In 1923, four years after the team was founded, the fledgling Packers found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy, so they sold shares to the community to keep the lights on. The team has held four additional stock offerings since the original in ‘23, and according to the team’s website, there are currently 360,760 shareholders who own a total of 5,011,558 shares.
The Packers supporting Planned Parenthood may not sit well with the people of Green Bay; the city is 71% Catholic, and the Catholic Church is traditionally one of the bastions of the pro-life movement. The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay supports Project Rachel, of which it has written, “Project Rachel is a national organization which helps individuals face the emotional and spiritual problems that can surface after abortion. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay partners with Project Rachel to provide healing after abortion. Project Rachel can help the woman who has experienced an abortion, the father of the unborn baby, grandparents, relatives, friends, and medical personnel working in the abortion industry.”