Cleveland Browns select Brandon Chrostowski as the 2023 Inspire Change Jim Brown Changemaker Award recipient for his work in support of social justice (12.13.23)
For Immediate Release
Dec. 13, 2023
Chrostowski will be recognized at the Browns’ Inspire Change game on Sunday, Dec. 17
BEREA, Ohio – Today the Cleveland Browns announced Cleveland Chef and Restaurateur Brandon Chrostowski as their 2023 Inspire Change Jim Brown Changemaker Award recipient. The National Football League (NFL) established the Changemaker Award last year as part of its Inspire Change initiative to recognize individuals in each teams’ market for making a difference in their community across Inspire Change’s four focus areas: education, economic advancement, police-community relations and criminal justice reform. Chrostowski, who was inspired by his own culinary journey after being released from jail, founded EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization in Cleveland that offers formerly incarcerated adults a foundation in the culinary and hospitality industries and a support network necessary for long-term success. He will be recognized at the Browns–Bears Inspire Change game on Sunday, Dec. 17, for going above and beyond in his pursuit of social justice.
As part of the Browns’ social justice efforts, they have worked with Chrostowski and EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute since 2019. Through the EDWINS program, students are equipped with intensive training and hands-on work experience and provided with free housing, legal services, basic medical care, clothing, job coaching, literacy programs, and more at the Second Chance Life Skills Center. The Institute graduates 75 students a year, many of whom gain employment in dining establishments across the country. EDWINS graduates record a 95% employment rate and less than 1% recidivism. Since its founding in 2013, the EDWINS family has grown to include a fine French restaurant, butcher shop, bakery and EDWINS Too – a culinary incubator, community kitchen, event, and makers’ space. In 2021, the EDWINS’ curriculum was rolled out to 45,000 electronic tablets in prisons across the country.
To date, the Browns have donated over $400,000 to support various EDWINS initiatives and goals, including increasing student graduation rates, providing official cooking certifications to students at no cost, increasing leadership training for EDWINS students, and maintaining its 95% employment rate. To learn more about the Browns’ partnership with EDWINS, players Anthony Walker Jr., David Bell and Shelby Harris visited the facility to speak with Chrostowski on Tuesday, Oct.10. The discussion was followed by a tour and dinner. Several other Browns players and representatives have also visited over the years.
Chrostowski has been featured in Cleveland Magazine, Scene Magazine, Belt Magazine, Forbes, and The Call and Post. He serves on the advisory committee for the employment committee for the Cuyahoga County’s Office of Re-entry and Department of Youth Services’ advisory committee for employment. He has been awarded the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club’s Movers and Shakers Award, Urban League of Greater Cleveland’s Whitney Young Jr. Award and Crain’s Magazine’s 40 under 40 Award. He also received the Medical Mutual Pillar Award recognizing the outstanding director of the year, as well as the Cornuelle Award from the Manhattan Institute, which recognizes the creative energy of the non-profit sector by highlighting new ideas led by social innovators. Additionally, he was a nominee for the Ernest and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
“The Browns are honored to nominate Brandon Chrostowski for this year’s Changemaker Award and are grateful for the incredible work he does throughout Northeast Ohio,” Browns Vice President of Community Relations Jenner Tekancic said. “Through EDWINS, he has found a way to instill hope and create second chance opportunities. We are proud to support and partner with him to further his mission.”
In addition to receiving special recognition at the Inspire Change game, Brandon Chrostowski will receive a $10,000 donation from the NFL Foundation, paid directly to a non-profit organization of his choice.
For more information on the 2023 Changemaker recipients, visit NFL.com/causes/inspire-change/changemakers.
About Browns Give Back:
The Cleveland Browns are committed to championing youth football, education and social justice in our community and throughout Ohio. Browns Give Back is the Cleveland Browns initiative dedicated to supporting our fans and neighbors. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/community.
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