Maroon 5 have teamed with the NFL and Interscope Records to donate $500,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America just days before the group is slated to take the stage as halftime performers at Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. A spokesperson for the Adam Levine-led group confirmed the donation to Billboard on Tuesday (Jan. 29), with a spokesperson for BBBS sharing a statement from the organization’s president and CEO Pam Iorio.
“We believe that all of our nation’s youth need someone who believes in their potential, and we are so honored that the NFL, Interscope Records, and Maroon 5 are supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in our important mission,” Iorio said.
People broke the news of the donation on Tuesday, with Levine telling the magazine in a statement, “Playing the Super Bowl has been a dream of our band for a long time. We thank the NFL for the opportunity and also to them, along with Interscope Records, for making this donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters, which will have a major impact for children across the country.”
The BBBSA spokesperson confirmed that the donation is connected to the NFL’s #InspireChange social justice initiative, but no details are available yet on how the funds will bre spent.
The spokesperson added that the BBBSA is focused on “recruiting more male volunteers, as the majority of youth on our waiting list are boys, and we are hopeful that our partnership with the NFL will help us in that goal.”
M5’s donation comes two weeks after rapper Travis Scott told Billboard that he agreed to perform at the game alongside the Los Angeles-based pop group only after the NFL agreed to join him in a joint donation of $500,000 to the Dream Corps social justice nonprofit. A spokesperson for the NFL had not responded to requests for comment at press time. Unlike recent halftime performers, M5 have kept a low profile in the lead-up to Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, only confirming their participation two weeks ago in a short video clip, but making no public appearances or interviews hyping the once-in-a-lifetime gig.
Maroon 5 are the subject of a Change.org petition asking them to drop out of the gig in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his efforts to protest racial inequality in the U.S. by taking a knee; at press time the petition has more than 111,000 signatures. The same petitioner also started a second drive asking all three artists to #TakeAKnee during the performance in honor of Kaepernick’s signature protest. The band and the NFL have not responded to requests for comment on the petitions.
M5 has posted a series of rehearsal pics in recent days, including a short clip in which Levine stands silent as another fellow halftime performer, Atlanta-bred rapper Big Boi, promises, “There’s top secret things going out here on the west coast.”