NFL using cloud company to support three-day virtual fundraiser for COVID-19

Extreme Networks is helping the NFL hold the charity drive during the league's annual draft.

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Cloud-driven network company Extreme Networks is working with the National Football League on the NFL Draft-A-Thon, a three-day digital fundraiser designed to bring in funding for six charities battling the spread of COVID-19 and delivering relief to millions in need.

The NFL is holding its first-ever digital draft this weekend and will use the event to raise money for the COVID-19 relief efforts of the American Red Cross, the CDC Foundation, Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, and the United Way.

"As the Official Wi-Fi Solutions Provider and Wi-Fi Analytics Provider of the NFL, Extreme Networks is thankful for the ability to participate in this important endeavor," said Norman Rice, COO of Extreme Networks. 

"We stand alongside employees, customers, partners, and fellow citizens to overcome the global challenge COVID-19 represents. We're pleased to be a part of the Draft-A-Thon and hope everyone considers donating to this great cause."

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In a YouTube video, Rice explained that Extreme Networks is partnering with the NFL and teams to provide the technology to support some of the facilities that are being set up for temporary testing or field hospitals in local communities across the United States that are still battling COVID-19.

The company is also working with enterprises in their supply chains to produce and pull in additional protective equipment for healthcare workers, Rice added.

The Draft-A-Thon has already raised more than $290,000 and will run alongside the NFL Draft while it is broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and NFL Network. 

"The Draft-A-Thon will deliver much-needed funding to many who are suffering as well as those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. 

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"Conducting this event virtually, and taking all necessary precautions while doing so, underscores the importance of staying home and staying strong during this unprecedented moment in our history.''

The fundraiser will also be live streamed on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch and a number of official NFL accounts. 

A variety of NFL stars, league legends and comedians will take part in the event while being hosted by Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders until the end of the 2020 NFL Draft on Sunday. 

Anyone can donate to the cause at or through a number of texting options. Since the coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm, dozens of NFL players and league owners have donated to organizations helping healthcare workers, first responders, and others on the front lines of the struggle with COVID-19. 

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On the relief webpage, the NFL says that between the National Football League Players Association, clubs, owners, and players, the league has collectively donated more than $76 million to COVID-19 relief efforts to date.

"We know what is going on in our country. We're a part of those communities. We want to give back. We hope to be able to do much better than that over the next few weeks and to be able to do something that is going to provide really needed resources for people on the front line and that have been impacted by this. We think we can bring a lot of attention and a lot of thanks and gratitude to the people on the front line but also much needed resources," Goodell told Eisen last week.

"What it's going to do is really give people a chance to participate and give back in their own way for whatever amount that they can to be able to contribute to relief efforts from some great organizations--six national organizations--that will be getting 100 percent of the funds."

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Illustration: Lisa Hornung, Getty Images/iStockPhoto/NFL