The first order of business for the Las Vegas Raiders wasn't focused on the football field.
There will be dozens of practices held, games to be won, and hopefully championship trophies to be hoisted, but before all that, Raiders Owner Mark Davis wanted to kick off the Silver and Black's official tenure in Southern Nevada with a gesture of gratitude – one not defined by wins and losses on Sunday.
"Four years ago, we told the state of Nevada that you're getting more than a football team, you're getting an army, you're getting the Raider Nation. All the people up here today are a part of the Raider Nation. There's some Oakland Raiders, there's some Los Angeles Raiders, but most of all they're all Raiders," said Davis Wednesday afternoon, addressing construction workers outside Allegiant Stadium. "We told them they'd be getting an army and working in the community is the thing we do the best. Schools, charities, everywhere and anywhere we can make a difference. Yesterday, they unveiled the plans for the 2020 NFL Draft right here in Las Vegas. They expect over 750,000 people to visit during the three-day period, that's progress. As well as working in the community -- since we are working in the community -- today we want to make a donation to the Nevada Department Agriculture Meal Service program, which feeds kids lunch and breakfast at the schools. We're hoping to eliminate the debt that the entire state of Nevada has to do that project, and in that regard we're donating $500,000."
"We are proud to partner with the Las Vegas Raiders as the administrator of the organization's community fund that will retire the cumulative school meal debt for eligible institutions currently participating in NSLP and SBP with the Nevada Department of Agriculture," added Gian Brosco, President & CEO, Nevada Community Foundation. "As the Raiders prepare for their official arrival as our state's first-ever NFL team, their positive impact on our community continues to grow as evidenced by this significant gesture. We commend Mark Davis for actively seeking opportunities like this that make a real difference for Nevada students and residents."
The sizable donation was just another entry in the organization's now lengthy book on community service in their new home – not only has the team been focused on serving groups in Southern Nevada and throughout the state since the announcement of the team's relocation, but with a permanent home now in Las Vegas that spirit of service will only increase.
In fact, on Tuesday – the day before the Silver and Black officially became the Las Vegas Raiders – fullback Alec Ingold and tight end Darren Waller spent a portion of their day handing out lunches to first and second graders at Jack Dailey Elementary School.
And while it will unquestionably take time for the Silver and Black to fully ingratiate themselves to their new home, and become a pillar of excellence both on and off the field, the desire is there – throughout all facets of the organization.
"We want to become one with the community," defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. "We want to become one with our fans, just really build that loyalty here, and create some energy, create some buzz, and make a run for it."
And while eventually hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is the ultimate goal, and really the best way to create energy for fans of the Silver and Black, another gesture of goodwill – particularly one aimed at helping the entire state – is a good place to start.