Monday, March 19, 2018 | 2 a.m.
The Raiders won’t play their first down of football in Las Vegas until 2020, but the team is already scoring points and creating excitement as it comes to the aid of local charities and holds regular events to welcome fans to the Raider Nation.
Since the team’s move from Oakland, Calif., became official nearly a year ago, Raiders officials and former players have taken part in dozens of community events. And the team has donated thousands of dollars to Las Vegas charities.
After the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip, the Raiders donated $50,000 to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, which was matched by the NFL Foundation, which pledged $50,000 to the American Red Cross.
“It’s (community outreach) something that the Davis family has historically taken very seriously,” team President Marc Badain said, referring to team owner Mark Davis and his family. “They don’t do it to toot their own horn, they do it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Last month, the Raiders and the Nevada Dairy Council presented the Sandy Searles Miller Academy for International Studies a $10,000 grant in conjunction with the Fuel up to Play 60 campaign, which encourages children to be active for at least an hour a day.
At the school, former Raiders defensive tackle Reggie Kinlaw, a two-time Super Bowl champ, met with students during a mini training camp.
“I keep telling everybody in Las Vegas you’re about to get one of the top organizations in the NFL,” Kinlaw said. “We do a lot of community stuff. We work with a lot of youth programs and schools and try to get them to participate in sports, too.”
Principal Lene Muth said events like Fuel up to Play 60 are a big deal for the kids.
“Hearing that message from the Raiders and the people they admire is extremely important to us,” Muth said. “Having that excitement about it and having them come here and be hands on with the kids is super important, too.”
Diving right into the Las Vegas market was a calculated effort by the team, as Badain said the Raiders wanted to introduce the organization and its values to the community right away.
“It was important, especially in new market, because people really don’t know you,” Badain said. “So if the first touchpoint is you at a charity event or at somebody’s school trying to help fundraise for some cause, that shows the type of organization that we are and that we’re going to be.”
Several Raiders staffers already have relocated from California to Las Vegas to launch operations here, Badain said. “As we get closer and more people move here and the players and coaches arrive here, you’ll see a lot more activity,” he said.
After a busy 2017, the Raiders aren’t slowing down, as there are already 28 community events planned this year, including a USA Football Regional Development Camp and eight Raiders Junior Training Camps around the valley this month.