NFL Charities Awards $1 Million in Grants, Recognizes Five Player Foundations During NFL Charities Week

NFL Charities

The NFL has awarded $1 million in grants to 89 player charities during NFL Charities Week. Five organizations are being singled out this week to publicize the substantial philanthropy done throughout the league. Those players include Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten for his SCORE Foundation, brothers Torry and Terrence Holt, both current free agents, for their Holt Foundation, the New England Patriots’ Matt Light for his Light Foundation, Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington for his 1st and 10 Foundation, and New York Jets RB Tony Richardson for his Rich in Spirit Foundation. [Read more…]

NFL: Saints’ Vilma Meets with UN to Discuss Relief for his Native Haiti; Pennington Hosts First Event

Jonathan Vilma

Saints LB Jonathan Vilma and retired greats Freeman McNeil and Adam Dispirito met with UN leaders recently to discuss relief in Haiti. Also, Chad Pennington hosting his foundation’s first “Share Our Soles” event and former Jaguar Richard Collier is bringing his message to Jacksonville’s Justice Coalition. The 49ers cheerleaders put a good spin on the mission to end childhood obesity.

Jonathan Vilma: New Orleans Saints LB Jonathan Vilma visited the United Nations headquarters on March 27 to push for funding of hurricane proof housing in his native Haiti. Vilma, as well retired NFL stars Freeman McNeil and Adam Dispirito, met with dignitaries and humanitarians in an effort to ease the fears of people in hurricane affected areas so that they have a safer home when a natural disaster hits. [Read more…]

Amobi Okoye Returns to Native Nigeria with a Group of Other NFL Players; Leinert and Bryant in the News

A group of NFL players have embarked on a community-building trip to Nigeria. Matt Leinert is teeing up his first charity golf tournament, and Steeler Fernando Bryant returned home to host an MSA event.

Amobi Okoye Foundation

Nigeria Trip: Houston Texans DT Amobi Okoye is taking a community-building trip to his native Nigeria this month, along with Texans LB Xavier Adibi, Chicago Bears players Tommie Harris, Israel Idonije and Adewale, New York Giants DE Osi Umenyiora and Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha. The group left March 20, and will return March 29.

In Houston, Brooke Bentley wrote that InVictus91 Sports Marketing group and the Amobi Okoye Foundation are sponsoring a second mission to the country entitled, “Athletes in the Diaspora: Community Interventions.” [Read more…]

NFL: Cowboys Legends Bowl for Walls, Springs; Steelers Begin Charity Hoops Season

Two of the most-storied NFL franchises are in the news this week. The start goes to the Dallas Cowboys, as retired greats came together to benefit teammates Ron Springs’ and Everson Walls’ charity. Then after the jump there’s a piece about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ annual charity hoops season. We finish with a blurb on Chad Pennington.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Dallas Cowboys’s Terry Bingham reported from a bowling benefit for The Ron Springs and Everson Walls Gift for Life Foundation, and the event “drew some of the biggest names in Cowboys’ history,” including Nate Newton, Tony Dorsett, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Drew Pearson.

Pearson: “Anything we can do to make life a little better for anyone who has to go through a transplant, we want to do our part. Today, the economy is so tough, and people are holding onto every dollar. It’s tough to get that charitable dollar, but people have to understand these problems are ongoing; they don’t stop. So, hopefully, people can dig a little deeper, maybe not as much, but hopefully something.” [Read more…]

Donovan McNabb Picks Up Heritage Award in Philly; Moss Brothers’ Dare to Dream Event in Miami

Donovan McNabb Foundation

Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb received the Heritage Award the African American Museum in Philadelphia at its fourth annual Heritage Gala late last month.

In Philly, John Smallwood wrote that McNabb’s “annual events include scholarships to his Diabetes Camp for Kids, an All-Star Kids Football Clinic and holiday events at Thanksgiving and Christmas to benefit family shelters and underprivileged children.” In addition, McNabb “has worked with various churches in the region, Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, the American Red Cross and the Fraternal Order of Police.” [Read more…]

News Bytes: Catching Up On the Week’s Stories

Florida Gators

College champ Tim Tebow is at the top of this week’s news bytes. Tebow got a little clarification from the NCAA this week. The ’07 Heisman winner gets to continue his evangelism efforts, which is good, because apparently it’s the main reason he’s returning to the Gators next season. After the jump, we’ve got bytes on celebrity voicemails and an interesting rivalry brewing between Purdue and Michigan State.

Tim Tebow: In Palm Beach, Ben Volin reported that the NCAA granted University of Florida QB Tim Tebow “permission to help raise funds for his family’s evangelical operation.”

Tebow’s father runs the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association as well as Uncle Dick’s Home, an orphanage that is a separate financial entity of the association. Tim Tebow said last week that “the ability to raise funds for his evangelism … is what propelled him to return to Gainesville for one more season.” [Read more…]

Golden Gloves: Santonio Holmes’ Super Bowl Gloves Sell for $70k to Benefit Sickle Cell Group

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I’m not taking anything away from Pittsburgh Steelers WR Santonio Holmes, but 70 grand for the gloves he wore to pull in the Super Bowl-winning catch? That’s exactly what the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America is about to get.

The L.A. Times’ Debbie Goffa reported that the gloves were sold for $70,200 in a charity auction. Goffa: “Bidding for the black-and-gold Reebok gloves doubled in the last hour of the auction, which wrapped up on Sunday. A total of 163 bids were placed.”

Holmes, whose six-year-old son has the blood disease, said, “It is difficult for me to see my son struggle with the disease and I hope that the money from this auction can help other families” (Debbie Goffa, L.A. Times, 2/17).

After Years of the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, the NFL Establishing a Youth Education Town on the Island

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The NFL announced that it will donate $1 million towards the construction of the $3 million Honolulu NFL Youth Education Town, making the The Honolulu YET venue the first program outside of Super Bowl host cities.

The Honolulu center, which is expected to open next year, will be operated by Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii. The 20,000-square foot facility will consist of an arts & crafts center, community room, teen center, learning center, technology center and multi-media studio, social and recreational games room, gymnasium and athletic field, locker rooms and meeting rooms.

In addition to the NFL’s $1 million donation, the YET Center will be funded through private and public contributions from the state, city and corporate donations (NFL).

Pro Bowl Grant Program: The NFL’s Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium has left a legacy to the state of Hawaii to the tune of $1 million over the past ten years. For this year, a total of 23 Hawaii non-profit organizations will receive a combined $100,000 as part of the NFL Charities Pro Bowl Grant Program. Since the program began, recipient organizations undergo an application process and must be focused on youth programming, education, and physical fitness (NFL).

Wilma McNabb Helps Launch National Title IX Campaign

Wilma McNabb

Philadelphia’s Surburban One Sports reported that Wilma McNabb, the mother of Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, last week helped launch the Youth Sports and Title IX Campaign, “V is for Victory. So is IX.” The national campaign “is aimed at educating students, parents and administrators about Title IX, the federal law banning sex-based discrimation in schools.”

Wilma McNabb: “I have granddaughters. I want them to have everything that’s out there that was (there) for my sons. That’s why I am stressing equality for young women and girls. I tell you this – I was not aware of Title IX, but my daughter-in-law was. When this was first brought to me, we sat and we talked about it. It is a great effort, and I have taken on the passion for this.”

Women’s Law Project Carol Tracy said that the goal of this national campaign “is to work toward that end by improving and expanding the athletic opportunities for girls, particularly in middle school and high school.”

Busted: Over 30 schools in the Philadelphia region were cited for violations of Title IX. A major violation is the inequity created by booster clubs (Suburban One Sports, 1/27). Read the entire article from Suburban One Sports

A Good Son: Donovan McNabb recently chatted with Brittney Payton, daughter of NFL great Walter Payton, about the role of parents.

Donovan McNabb on Family and Charity (2:15)

McNabb, on his parents: “They’ve truly been an inspiration for me. … They do something that they cherish, and to get other mothers and fathers involved. And I think that it’s important as parents that you continue to be supportive of your kids’ lives and always be there for them, because we want to there for them. I think that support is very important” (Mouthpiece Sports, 1/31).

Video added to Mouthpiece Sports: January 31, 2009

Photo credit: Suburban One Sports

Former Viking Clark Helping to Promote Prostate Cancer Research and Awareness

Kenneth Clark

As noted today on Black Gives Back, former Minnesota Vikings player Kenneth Clark “was one of 14 retired players to participate in a prostate cancer screening to promote prostate cancer research and awareness initiatives” by the American Urological Association.

Clark: “I am pleased that the NFL Player Care Foundation has made awareness for this disease a priority and that I can participate in this initiative, I dream of one day having my own foundation and being able to help promote this important cause also.”

Meanwhile, Clark also partnered with Hosea Feed the Hungry & Homeless, during the National Day of Service on January 20 in Atlanta, by serving warm meals to the homeless (Black Gives Back, 2/4). Read the entire piece from Black Gives Back

Photo credit: The Mathis Firm

Conroy Helping Flames Program; Walter and The First Tee; Zorich Talks to Students

Craig Conroy

In Calgary, Kathy Mccormick writes that Calgary Flames C Craig Conroy, the official player spokesperson for the Flames Foundation for Life, participated in a charity event today in support of the foundation’s Calgary Flames Even Strength Program.

The program “helps fund registration fees for hockey programs for underprivileged families” (Kathy Mccormick, Calgary Herald, 1/31). Read the entire story from the Calgary Herald

The First Tee: Paraplegic golfer and trick shot artist Dennis Walters will represent The First Tee at several PGA Tour tournaments and other scheduled events in 2009. As part of the partnership, Walters will serve as a spokesman for The First Tee, helping to communicate the mission and values of The First Tee during nearly 100 Dennis Walters Golf Shows throughout 2009, including four PGA Tour events. He will also make special guest appearances at three Chapters of The First Tee.

Walters, an honorary PGA member, suffered a golf cart accident 34 years ago that left him a paraplegic. Since 1977, he has traveled the country devoting his life to entertaining and inspiring others through his motivational shows (The First Tee).

Going to School: Michigan’s WNDU-NBC reports that as part of Catholic Schools Week, former NFL player Chris Zorich talked to local high school students about charity. Zorich “shared his story of growing up the poor child of a single mother on the south side of Chicago, and how he was able to get out and change his life.” Zorich “wanted them to understand how a little help can go a long way” (WNDU-NBC, 1/31). Read the entire piece from WNDU-NBC

Photo credit: Calgary Flames

The NFL’s Community Impact Program Has More Than 50 Activities Planned

Super Bowl XLIII

Through the NFL’s Community Impact Program, the league is ensuring that the Big Game will be felt well after the clock hits zero.

Throughout the week preceding Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, more than 50 charitable activities and community outreach programs will enliven and enrich the community and provide lasting legacies.

The following are just some of the ways the NFL and Super Bowl XLIII will benefit the host community:

Super Bowl XLIII One World Super Huddle

Tampa Bay area fifth graders will learn about the differences that make them unique and the similarities that bring them together as part of the NFL’s diversity program “One World: Connecting Communities, Cultures, and Classrooms.”

The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP All-Star Playground Build & Award Ceremony

The Home Depot will recognize an NFL player who is making a positive impact in his community at The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP All-Star playground build and award ceremony. The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP program celebrates players who are committed to improving the cities where they live and work through charitable programs and contributions.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Through the assistance of the NFL, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America will grant the wishes of 12 children to attend Super Bowl XLIII.

NFL Youth Education Town (YET)

The NFL has constructed Youth Education Towns (YETs) for 15 years in Super Bowl host cities. The YET program is aimed at positively impacting youth in at-risk neighborhoods. There are two NFL Youth Education Towns of Tampa Bay located in Mort Park and Jackson Heights. Both facilities opened following Super Bowl XXXV and currently serve hundreds of children and their families.

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

Three community-minded NFL players will be recognized during Super Bowl week as finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Minnesota Vikings C Matt Birk, Philadelphia Eagles S Brian Dawkins and Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner are the top candidates for this year’s award, named for the legendary Chicago Bears RB who died in 1999. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the only league award that recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.

Taste of the NFL

Taste of the NFL is the premier food and wine tasting extravaganza at Super Bowl, featuring a top chef from each of the 31 NFL team cities, paired with an alumnus or current player from each team. Known as The Party with a Purpose, Taste of the NFL exists to raise awareness and dollars for organizations involved in tackling hunger in America (NFL). Read the entire release from the NFL