THE Black Cats have set up a partnership with the Nelson Mandella Foundation to support the work of the former South African president’s charity.
Over the next 18 months the side will support fundraising initiatives for the charity.
The drive will start when Sunderland take on Manchester United on March 30.
The club’s vice-chairman, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, said: “We want to take his message of reconciliation and social justice as far and as wide as possible,” said club vice-chairman David Miliband.
“It’s a great validation of the community and charitable work we do.”
Achmat Dangor, who heads the Nelson Mandela Foundation, said the partnership would help spread the anti-apartheid fighter’s message to young people worldwide through the football club, Sunderland’s own charitable foundation and work in Africa.
“It will give us an outreach we haven’t got yet,” he said.
“We get many offers of partnerships but what Sunderland did was something unique and generous and unconditional, there was nothing like: ‘Can you give us something in return?’”
“They’re going to help raise funds to sustain our organisation - for us to do our work we must maintain our independence and live up to Nelson Mandela’s ethos of inclusivity and reconciliation and social justice.”
Last year, Sunderland agreed a deal with not-for-profit group Invest in Africa to become the official shirt sponsor of the Black Cats.