By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
A new commemorative hat designed by a Northside business owner will be sold at the recently opened Protective Life Stadium during the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Fall 2021 home football games thanks to a partnership between Protective Life Corporation (Protective) and the designer and retailer in Fountain Heights.
The hat, designed by FLY V apparel brand founder Andrew Jones, features “BRAVO! Birmingham” on the front, which stands for “Building Relationships and Valuing Opportunities” with the Protective Stadium logo on the side of the baseball cap.
Scott Adams, executive vice president of corporate responsibility, strategy and innovation at Protective, said Jones is a “creative genius” and was a good choice for the celebratory project.
“[Jones is] an entrepreneur and a small business owner, so what could we do to support him? We were looking to do something commemorative around the stadium and supportive of minority business initiatives and so put all that together,” Adams said.
After Protective became the namesake of the new stadium, Adams said the company started listening and meeting its “new neighbors.” It was during this time, Adams said, that company officials met Jones.
“We actually did a visit of some of the businesses in the [4th Ave.] Black business district and I met with [Jones] and came up with this idea to do this partnership,” Adams said.
He added that “BRAVO” became the theme of the design to celebrate the “good for all” that the stadium will bring. A portion of the proceeds will be directed to the Penny Foundation, a Birmingham-based 501(c)(3), which will distribute funds through grants to the Northside Communities early in 2022. Protective is matching the Penny Foundation funds up to $5,000.
Giving back to the community with money from the hat sales is very important and brings it full circle, Jones said. “It takes a grassroot idea that started with small business, and it’s able to replenish the communities and hopefully could fund other ideas [and] opportunities for other small businesses to learn and grow and collaborate with our new neighbor in Protective.”
In addition, the new stadium and Protective’s partnering with people in the community could provide a “community bridge” between small and bigger business, Jones said.
“I think it’s a great way for us to kind of level the playing field and help some of the smaller minority-owned businesses to get involved,” Jones said.
After 114 years of being based in Birmingham, Protective knows that being a good corporate neighbor is important to longevity, Adams said.
“We’ve got a long, long history, and I think part of being a sustainable company is [that] you’ve got to operate with very good values and build trust and relationships,” Adams said, “and this is just a further extension of that.”
The company’s Protecting Good initiative was formed following the decision to serve as the naming rights partner for Protective Stadium and showcases community stewardship by supporting the five neighborhoods of the Northside Community of Birmingham – where Protective Stadium resides.
An important part of Protective’s community work is “focus,” Adams said.
“We’ve really focused on the five neighborhoods around the stadium as our focus because it can become overwhelming if you try and do too much,” Adams said, “so we said, ‘Look, this is really simple.’”
Visit ProtectiveStadium.com to view a schedule of upcoming UAB football games where stadium-goers can purchase a commemorative FLY V hat. To learn more about FLY V, visit FLY-V.com or the showroom store in Fountain Heights at 320 17th St. N.