The Cincinnati Bengals announced today Candice Matthews Brackeen as its recipient of the inaugural 2022 Inspire Change Changemaker Award. The league's newly established award recognizes individuals who are making a difference in their communities, either individually or as part of a non-profit organization, across each of the NFL's 32 club markets. Matthews Brackeen will be recognized at the Bengals' Week 17 Inspire Change game.
Matthews Brackeen is the Founder & CEO of Lightship Foundation, the Cincinnati based, impact driven organization leveraging corporate partnerships, specialized programming, meaningful mentorship, and capital investments to advance remarkable yet underserved entrepreneurs and ecosystems. Thanks to the leadership of Matthews Brackeen, Lightship Foundation meaningfully connects investors, entrepreneurs, tech professionals and creatives across minority innovation culture. Lightship Foundation recently brought Black Tech Week to Cincinnati and will continue to enhance the conference and its value to the city.
"It's essential that everyone has the opportunity to build a successful and enduring business," says Matthews Brackeen. "At Lightship our team rallies every day to level the playing field for minority entrepreneurs throughout Cincinnati – so we are deeply honored to be recognized for this effort by the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL, and grateful for their generous support and amplification of this very important work."
"The Bengals are proud to nominate Candice Matthews Brackeen for the Inspire Change Changemaker Award," said Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn. "This award recognizes Candice for the important work she is doing to remove barriers to success for small, minority-owned businesses in the tech industry through Lightship Foundation. The recent success of Black Tech Week is one example of the positive impact she is making in the community to grow and support minority innovation professionals across the Midwest."
Inspire Change Changemaker Award recipients were selected based on their outstanding work in the community, supporting one or more of the four key pillars encompassed in the Inspire Change Initiative. All 32 recipients will receive a $10,000 donation to the social justice 501c3 nonprofit organization of their choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation.