JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– The Jacksonville Jaguars have selected Ed Perez, president and CEO of Three Grains of Rice Missions, as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award.
The NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation have partnered for the ninth annual NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards during the 2019 celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The awards recognize the contributions of Hispanic leaders in each NFL market.
Perez came to the United States from Cuba as a teenager with little means and limited English language skills. Through hard work and perseverance, he achieved his version of the American Dream. After graduating from college, Perez spent 42 years at CSX, working his way up from mail clerk to IT executive. Following his retirement in 2015, he and his wife established Three Grains of Rice Missions. This nonprofit organization focuses on homelessness, women in crisis and children in need through awareness, volunteerism, education, personal interaction and the organization of projects and community outreach activities.
As the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award recipient, Three Grains of Rice Missions will receive a $2,000 donation.
The Jaguars will continue celebrating Hispanic heritage into the month of October as the presenting sponsor of the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's 4th Annual Achieving the Dream Scholarship Awards & Hispanic Heritage Gala on October 11 at TIAA Bank Field. Through the support of the Jaguars, the NFL and others, a total of $20,000 in scholarships will be presented to 10 deserving applicants.
The Hispanic population of Northeast Florida is one of the fastest growing in the state, and the Jaguars have been active in embracing this growing audience. Jaguars WR Keelan Cole and LB Myles Jack have each traveled to Mexico in the past two years as NFL player ambassadors for the Tochito (Flag Football) National Tournament. In 2018, the Jaguars teamed up with the NFL to host an NFL PLAY 60 Character Camp at the Dream Finders Homes Flex Field at Daily's Place. Attending the camp were 300 Hispanic youth, ages 9-13, who were preselected by local nonprofit organizations as well as Duval County Public Schools.