Broncos Tackle Hunger, NFL Play 60, Broncos Drive For Life. Denver Broncos fans have all probably heard of these special initiatives either at a game or on the website, but most people don’t know who is responsible for them. Meet Cindy Kellogg, the Vice President of Community Development for the Denver Broncos. She has been the backbone of the community department for nearly 10 years, and her passion for involving the Broncos in the community in which they play sets her apart from the crowd.
HGL: Have you always worked in sports?
CK: I actually started on the nonprofit side for Bonfils Blood Center, the community blood center in Colorado. My first position there was the Director of Volunteer Services, so it really was building a volunteer core for Bonfils from the ground, up. So for the first few years, it was building a volunteer team to be deployed to their community donor centers and the volunteers who supported their mobile blood drives. That was very interesting work, and that transitioned into building the community outreach program for the blood center; how we could provide more image-enhancement for Bonfils, how we could look at the brand as a social steward in the community. There was some PR involved, some media relations involved, and it really became its own department. That really became my first introduction into consolidated community relations.
Through that experience, we started the blood drive program with the Denver Broncos. Two years into that relationship, I was asked to come over to this side of things. The Broncos had not had a community relations arm – they had the functions, but they were aligned, on any given year, with PR or marketing, it wasn’t a stand-alone. I really applaud the efforts of Mr. (Pat) Bowlen, and actually of the NFL, because at that time the league was taking a stand on the teams being out in their communities in a formalized fashion and having a focused, philanthropic direction.
HGL: Why do you think it’s important for the Broncos to be a part of the community?
CK: I think I would have several answers for that. Number one, right or wrong, the brand of the Broncos is highly influential in our state and our region and in the nation. I think with that is an inherent responsibility to treat that influence responsibly and to acknowledge our role as a leader in a positive fashion.
The second answer I would have to that is that we acknowledge that our fans keep us where we are, and they support us and provide the opportunity for us to exist. With that, there is a responsibility to pay them back and to make our community better for everyone who lives here.
HGL: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
CK: My favorite, hands-down, is when building meaningful partnerships with our nonprofit constituents that exist over time and that are highly impactful in a positive way to the communities in which they exist.
My specific example of that would be our relationship with Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver. We worked for so long to identify a relationship we could really hang our hat on and that we could grow with over time, and Boys and Girls Clubs was a wonderful fit for us. I like that we have a physical location (Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver) where our players can spend meaningful time and really get into mentoring opportunities. That, to me, is a true definition of a win-win. That is my favorite part of my job – creating win-win relationships that are highly impactful in the community.
HGL: What does the typical day look like for you?
CK: A lot of it is fostering those relationships we have with our nonprofit constituents; managing those relationships that lead to our community programs for impact and the logistics that would go on with any of the events. In the fall, it’s really cultivating relationships with our guys to get them out into the community on behalf of the organization. The NFL designates Tuesdays for being out in the community in order for that to happen. We have six or seven real marquee days during the course of the football season (all Tuesdays), where we would actually be responsible for getting our guys out to support some of our relationships.
HGL: You’re in a pretty male-dominated field, especially in regards to working directly with the players. What advice do you have for females who want to succeed in an NFL career?
CK: My advice to any young women pursuing careers in the world of professional sports is to stay true to your values, remain focused on the job at hand, aspire to raise your game each and every year, and keep showing up.
Kellogg has been the driving force behind a new initiative in the department called Be a Champion in the Community, partnering the Broncos with 12 different nonprofit organizations to encourage fans, players and staff to get involved in their community. For more information visit the Denver Broncos Community Relations site.