The Los Angeles Rams have announced Brandon "Stix" Salaam-Bailey, the founder of the Thinkwatts Foundation, as their 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 through social justice work, either individually or as part of a nonprofit organization, across each of the NFL's 32 club markets. On Sunday, Stix was surprised with the award during an on-field recognition at the Rams Week 16 Inspire Change game against the Denver Broncos.
The Thinkwatts Foundation focuses on community grassroots activations along with developing financial literacy programs, customer container housing solutions and combatting food insecurities. Born and raised in Watts, California, Stix has worked to become a rapper, record producer, songwriter and entrepreneur over the last 16 years. He began philanthropy work when he realized the inequalities in different communities. He was blessed to become successful in the music and entertainment business and was exposed to different ways of life. His opportunities inspired him to provide younger generations access to experiences that they may not be afforded due to systemic issues.
Stix has been involved in philanthropy work even before he realized what it was. He maxed out his first credit card buying turkeys for his community and has continued giving back ever since. In 2018, he started the Thinkwatts Foundation once he realized the need was greater than just food insecurities and that there was more impactful work to be done.
Stix is the definition of boots on the ground. One of his mottos is, "It's not only about talking the talk, but walking the walk." Stix is relentlessly making sure people from his community, and others like it, are not left behind or forgotten. He makes it his priority to be present, from teaching financial literacy courses to delivering meals door to door with his organization. He does all of this while uplifting the community by providing jobs, classes and access to better education.
"Rams House equals 'Our House'," said Stix, founder, Thinkwatts Foundation."The Rams Foundation is truly committed to welcoming and partnering with community organizations to provide resources and opportunities for many low-income communities citywide. Furthermore, the Rams organization provides a platform to amplify the voice of many organizations including my own, the Thinkwatts Foundation."
For the fourth consecutive year, the Rams teamed up with Stix to address social injustices. Earlier this season, the Rams and the NFL worked with the Thinkwatts Foundation to host an event for community members in the Watts neighborhood. As a part of the evening, the NFL and Little Caesars recognized the great work being done by local community leaders by providing the Thinkwatts Foundation with a $125,000 grant to support programs and initiatives led by the community leaders in Watts and surrounding areas.
Last year, the Rams and the Thinkwatts Foundation hosted a holiday distribution with the Watts Rams youth football players, who served as volunteers to brighten the holidays for community members in need. He also performed at halftime of the team's Inspire Change game at SoFi Stadium and helped the Rams surprise three social justice leaders with tickets to Super Bowl LVI.
In 2020, Stix produced an original song titled It Takes All Of Us, which was one of the phrases highlighted by the NFL for their continued commitment to social justice and the Rams team captains selected the phrase to be on the helmet sticker for the season. The music video, filmed in Inglewood, Watts and South Los Angeles, debuted during the Rams virtual Kickoff for Charity event. All proceeds generated by the event supported the team's efforts to help bridge the digital divide disproportionately impacting under-resourced students in Los Angeles. Additionally, the Rams and Stix produced a PSA featuring players reading an original spoken-word piece written by Stix. The PSA debuted before the 2020 season-opening game at SoFi Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
In 2019, Stix wrote and performed the spoken word for What's Watts: A Story of Transformation, a short film highlighting the power of the Watts Rams youth football program aimed at bridging the divide between the LAPD and the Watts community.
"Stix has become an invaluable community partner of the Rams," said Molly Higgins, executive vice president of community impact and engagement, Los Angeles Rams. "His approach is informed by his first-hand knowledge of what's needed in the community and he creatively addresses those needs by meeting people where they are. His work uplifts the community and future generations to come. Stix is deeply committed to inspiring change in our community, and we're honored to present him with the inaugural Inspire Change Changemaker Award. We look forward to continuing to move Los Angeles forward with him."
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: Police-Community Relations, Criminal Justice Reform, Education and Economic Advancement.
Inspire Change is the NFL's social justice initiative which showcases the collaborative efforts of players, owners and the League to create positive change in communities across the country and ensure that equal opportunity becomes a reality for all. Since 2017, the NFL family has provided more than $244 million to 37 national grant partners and hundreds of grassroots organizations across the country, nearing its 10-year, $250 million commitment to social justice efforts.
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.