(CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif.) – In the nearly 10 years since founder and Hall of Fame football coach J David Miller humbly promised to provide a ‘lifeline of hope’ for every child in the Coachella Valley, the faith-based Socal Coyotes leadership organization has been selected by State Senator Melissa Melendez as the ‘2021 Nonprofit of the Year’ for the 28th District.

The Coyotes were selected by Senator Melendez as the 28th District ‘2021 Nonprofit of the Year’

“We congratulate and thank the Coyotes for their amazing work with youth,” says Senator Melendez, a U.S. Navy and Gulf War veteran. “Through ‘faith, family and football,’ the Coyotes, work should rightfully be celebrated.”

With more than 40,000 non-profits to choose from – in a district that spans the eastern portion of Riverside County to the Southern Inland Empire – Senator Melendez validated the Coyotes inspirational rise from a bootstrap AAA football platform to a full-service non-profit agency that is not only changing hearts, but also saving lives.

“The Coyotes place special emphasis on nurturing at-risk, underprivileged, minority and displaced children, and provide a flight path for students throughout our Coachella Valley classrooms,” says Glenn Miller, District Director, and Indio Councilmember.

In June, the Socal Coyotes, along with other district Nonprofits of the Year, will be celebrated on the floor of the State Assembly in Sacramento, as well as an ensuing luncheon.

Joining Coyote executive staff will be a few of their star pupils from underserved communities who have been mentored by the organization.

Nearly 800 prospects have matured through the Coyote program – alumni include defensive back Jeremy Lane, who won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seattle Seahawks

“The Coyotes definitely changed my life,” says Rashad Roberts, who entered the program as a football prospect in 2012. Today Roberts holds 16 franchise records, is gainfully employed, married, and a father of three. “This organization instilled in me the life skills I needed to be a better father, better husband, better man, better friend.”

Coach Miller says the Senator’s recognition is “reflective of the extraordinary quality of each of our Coyote programs, each one managed by our talented, dedicated staff of compassionate professionals.”

The SoCal Coyotes organization reshapes lives, homes and communities by Building Champions, Building Men™. It ‘Defends the Shield™’ through year-round ‘Faith, Family, Football™’ leadership programs, community service and sports initiatives that develop aspiring football athletes; educate, equip and inspire at-risk youth; nurture single fathers and father figures; extol the virtues of family values, positive fathering and family legacy; mentor young men into trusted corporate citizens with employment opportunities and sustainable incomes; and empower future generations throughout the Coachella Valley.

“The Coyotes are cultivating leadership in underserved populations, laying out sustainable educational and vocational opportunities, and filling holes that contribute to the overall health of our community,” says former four-term Indio Mayor Michael H. Wilson, now Chief of Staff for Coachella Sports & Entertainment Stadium Authority (CSESA).

Schools, businesses and churches nationwide have deployed the Coyotes’ award-winning Above the Line™ student and young adult leadership program

In 2012, the Coyotes were ‘just a football team,’ offering second chances to players overlooked by NFL or NCAA opportunities. Coach Miller – a former CEO of three multi-million-dollar companies – took advantage of the captivating allure of football to create a hybrid, faith-based non-profit like none other in the nation.

On the field, the Coyotes – winners of six titles in eight championship appearances – have built a national brand, while flooding the pro ranks with prospects.

Off the field, the Coyotes have deployed more than $2 million throughout the region, impacting up to 750,000 Coachella Valley youth through their ‘Above the Line™’ leadership camps, clinics and symposia.

Across the region, Riverside County law enforcement agencies, schools, districts, non-profits and civic organizations all benefit from the Coyotes’ myriad of programs, clinics, symposiums and community development.

“Coach Miller is using football to create a replicatable, duplicatable, scalable platform that introduces faith, hope and redemption to thousands and thousands of young people,” says Atlanta Falcons legend Lynn Cain, who also won a national championship at nearby University of Southern California.

SoCal captain and mentor Joel Felix leads a Coyotes ‘Character Camp’ with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams

“Every young person on the planet desires to be loved, accepted, approved, and forgiven – and to have an opportunity to better their lives. The compassion of the Coyotes is changing dozens of communities, from Palm Springs to Los Angeles.”

How, exactly, did the Coyotes transform into a non-profit for the future?

  • Underscored its culture and values of faith and family, and reimagined its purpose toward youth-based initiatives;
  • Rebuilt an inclusionary, diversified board of directors that better served the communities the Coyotes represent;
  • Recruited a senior-level, C-suite talent structure made up of powerful communicators, collaborators, and global, strategic thinkers. The Coyote team includes doctors, engineers, designers, data scientists, business managers, civil servants, entrepreneurs, and research experts.
  • Deployed fresh platforms of leadership, resources and allies to drive change and build new ecosystems across desert communities, further strengthening their brand and reputation.

Senator Melendez thanked the Coyotes for “doing more than ever” to help their communities get through the COVID-19 crisis.

During COVID, the Coyotes adjusted to distance-learning, offering its motivational and instructional ‘Above the Line’ leadership curricula via Zoom to thousands of young people. Other changes were just as huge.

  • Funds once earmarked for football were repurposed to put food on kitchen tables;
  • Players and staff hand-delivered more than 50,000 meals to those in need;
  • Full-time counselors meet weekly with needy youth, in person whenever possible;
  • Donations of time and resources were made to other non-profits, including the Inland Empire Ronald McDonald House, and Angel Light Academy.

Coyote programs reach thousands of youth through coordinated efforts with numerous charitable and civic organizations, including Los Angeles Rams Character Camps, Boys & Girls Clubs, the YMCA, the Desert Strength Academy, the Boys & Girl Scouts of America, and Rotary International. The Coyotes are a member of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce.

This is the sixth year of the California Nonprofit of the Year initiative. Both the Assembly Select and Senate Select Committees are filing a resolution proclaiming June 23, 2021 as California Nonprofits Day.

Previous District 28 winners include Desert Arc, the Coachella Valley’s oldest and largest nonprofit – and a SoCal Coyote strategic partner.

-Gisselle Romo Gonzalez
Public Relations Director
([email protected])


The six-time champion SoCal Coyotes are the national standard of American developmental football, and are 94-14 under Hall of Fame head coach and non-profit founder J David Miller. The Coyotes’ organization provides elite athletes a professional environment that refines and showcases their skills through trademarked processes similar to the NBA’s D-league and MLB’s minor-league systems.

Additionally, the Coyotes’ 501c3 and award-winning ‘Above The Line™’ leadership programs impacts the social, mental and physical growth of more than 50,000 youth annually through remedial curriculum, training camps, clinics and symposia. NFL executives have named the SoCal Coyotes organization America’s #1 Developmental Football Program™ for its national, scalable brands, community outreach programs, nine-year operational track record, verifiable data, youth curriculum, sales, public-private sector alliances, and measured results.


On the heels of The SoCal Coyotes success, Coachella Sports and Entertainment Stadium Authority Corp. (CSESA) marks the advent of the Coachella Valley’s first and only centrally-based campus developer for sports, medicine, events, media, sports tourism and retail. CSESA’s unparalleled vision in sports tourism, medical, entertainment, restaurant, hotel and convention offerings will make it the region’s most active live content and event campus developer in Coachella Valley history.

The Shield at 1 Coyote Way will soon be the desert’s premiere destination

CSESA sports and entertainment partners are dedicated to all aspects of festival, exhibition, broadcast, merchandise and special events. CSESA believes the Coachella Valley’s greatest resource is its human potential, and invests heavily in community development and youth leadership initiatives.

CSESA is the master developer of The Shield at 1 Coyote Way, a 588-acre, multi-use campus that will be a 365-day-a-year destination. The Shield will include indoor and outdoor sports centers for soccer, concerts, football, lacrosse, field hockey; more than 100,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage, and other community space; more than 2,000 housing units; three hotels; 200,000 square feet of commercial office space; and over 100,000 square feet of family entertainment.


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