Chiefs’ Kelce to launch STEM project for underserved children

Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 14:16:59-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is giving back to Kansas City’s kids.

Fresh off signing a four-year contract extension, which will keep two-time All-Pro tight end with the Chiefs through the 2025 season, the 30-year-old Kelce announced Friday on social media that he is creating a STEM career program for inner-city children.

Through a partnership with Operation Breakthrough, Kelce’s Eighty-Seven and Running Foundation is purchasing a building that will serve as the home for the Ignition Lab: Powered by 87&Running, Kelce said via Twitter in a post titled “Dear KC… from my heart!!!”

Kelce, a third-round pick by Kansas City in the 2013 NFL Draft, said he can’t “begin to tell you how much this city means to me” and vowed to recommit to important “work I have left to do off the field.”

The Ignition Lab provides Kelce’s teen fans in underserved KCMO neighborhoods who are “navigating a world that doesn’t always have their back” with “a co-working space where these teens will have the support, resources, and opportunity to explore careers in STEM, launch their own entrepreneurial ventures and gain real-world experience.”

Operation Breakhtrough is excited about this new partnership and what this lab is going to bring to KC.

"We know for sure there is going to be a co-working space," Operation Breakthrough CEO Mary Esselman said. "We know we are working on a high school robotics practice field. One of the things we started when we opened the Makers City was our kids start coding at an early age. They are participating in robotics and we want to make sure we can continue that. We are hoping to have an electronics lab, a green tech lab."

Kelce, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, said he’s grown to be “profoundly aware of the difference in opportunity, exposure, and privilege I grew up with compared to others.”

He hopes this project helps bridge the gap for children in Kansas who lack the same opportunity, exposure and privilege.

“Where you live, the situation you were born into or the color of your skin should have o impact on the dreams you can dream,” Kelce said. “And it’s a beautiful thing when a kid’s dream comes true,” Kelce said.

Kelce, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2010s Team, would know after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy five months ago in Miami after the Chiefs’ 31-20 victory in Super Bowl LIV.

He is the only tight end in NFL history with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and is the Chiefs’ all-time leader with 5.3 receptions per game, while ranking second with 67.3 receiving yards per game in his career.

Kelce, who missed his rookie season with a knee injury, has managed to reach the Chiefs’ all-time top five for career receptions (507) and receiving yards (6,465) in only six seasons and ranks sixth in franchise history with 37 career receiving touchdowns.