A University of Michigan case study says that philanthropy efforts by the Detroit Lions are having a positive impact on the community.

Co-author and sport management assistant professor Kathryn Heinze says the football team has strong relationships with community groups and organizations that have resulted in "a number of innovative and successful joint programs and activities."

The team worked with Detroit officials to change a signage policy to improve store fronts in one business district. The "Living in the City" campaign also targets five other neighborhoods for safety, beautification and signage for pedestrians.

The Lions also worked with several organizations to teach Detroit students the importance of healthy food and exercise.

The research article by Heinze and organizational studies assistant professor Sara Soderstrom appears in the Journal of Sport Management.