East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants are proud to announce Daonese Johnson-Colón as the recipient of their 2023 Inspire Change Changemaker Award. The NFL's Changemaker Award recognizes individuals in every NFL team's market who are making a unique difference in one of Inspire Change's following focus areas: education, economic advancement, police-community relations, and criminal justice reform.
Daonese Johnson-Colón is inspiring change in the New York City community, and across the country, through her amazing career and passion for educating and mentoring tomorrow's social justice leaders. Daonese has served as the faculty mentor for the annual cohort of five fellows in the Giants' Touchdown Fellowship program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice since the program's inception in 2019. Each year, the group of senior fellows, many of whom have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system, receive a full scholarship to be used for tuition and fees, books and supplies, plus a paid internship at a leading criminal justice organization in the NYC area. Daonese works closely with the students to navigate their placement at a criminal justice internship of choice while guiding them through their coursework and into a career that can positively impact the criminal justice system. Daonese has worked with the Giants each year to organize visits for the group to come to practice, meet players and coaches, attend games, and for professional development sessions with Giants staff members.
Daonese is also currently an adjunct lecturer for John Jay College of Criminal Justice's Accelerate Complete Engage (ACE) program, a program designed to dramatically improve the percentage of students who graduate with a bachelor's degree by providing participants with a comprehensive program of academic, financial, and social interventions, and the Justice Capital Initiative (JCI) Fellowship, which is designed to prepare students to explore careers related to their majors and interests.
Daonese has dedicated her career to building spaces that promote leadership, inclusivity, and equity to foster personal and professional development in education and criminal justice reform, and has 20 years of experience in nonprofit administration and workforce management. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer at PushBlack, the nation's largest nonprofit media organization for Black Americans, reaching 9 million people across multiple platforms. PushBlack tells empowering stories on Black life and history that inspire people to take liberating actions in the best interest of Black communities. Their mission is to create compelling media on the richness of Black life and history that inspires people to take actions benefiting Black communities culturally, economically, and politically. Prior to joining PushBlack, Daonese served as Vice President of Operations/COO for JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), whose mission is to amplify the power of people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system to self-organize and empower their communities to dismantle racist and oppressive systems in their communities in order to build a more just country.
Johnson-Colón will be recognized during the Giants' final home game against the Philadelphia Eagles, with several of this year's Giants Touchdown Scholarship Fund fellows in attendance. A $10,000 donation will also be made in her name from the NFL Foundation to the nonprofit Downtown Community Television (DCTV). DCTV is a nonprofit community media center and New York City's preeminent community of documentary storytellers since 1972. By providing professional training and tools, access to critical equipment and public exhibition space in Manhattan, they give youth, aspiring and emerging filmmakers and communities of all backgrounds a greater voice through documentary film.
For more information on the 2023 Changemaker recipients, visit NFL.com/causes/inspire-change/changemakers.