HRYF was formed in 1997, by founders Carl Francis and Vernon Lee, Jr. These progressive thinkers established the HRYF with the objective of providing educational, social and economic programs for youth in the Hampton Roads community.

Using sports as a metaphor for life, the HRYF serves as a catalyst for academic success and responsible citizenship for youth and has attracted NFL legends, political leaders and celebrities to participate in sports camps and seminars, inspiring and educating Hampton Roads youth for 26 years. In this time, over 10,000 youth have participated in HRFY symposiums, football camps and events and over $23,000 in scholarships have been awarded to high school men and women by HRYF.

From strategic partnerships to tireless volunteer labor, the HRYF continues to evolve to meet the challenges of the day, while remaining true to its mission. With renewed commitment, the HRYF is poised to meet the challenges of the day.

The mission of the HRYF is to cultivate, develop and manage programs which enhance and enrich the lives of youth in Hampton Roads, Virginia area by promoting academic excellence, social responsibility and community service.


Carl Francis, Co-Founder of the HRYF is also Director of Communications for the NFL Players Association since 1994. Francis received his Masters of Business Administration in Business and Economics from Longwood University and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Communications from Virginia Union University.

Vernon Lee Jr., Co-Founder of HRYF and trusted business investment advisor to several middle market companies, institutional investors, entrereneurs, and entertainment partners. As Founder of Brightwood Management Partners, LLC, his business in China, Africa and the Middle East.