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.

Matt Light: In Providence, Shalise Manza Young noted that a “group of boys in Woonsocket have gotten an education in financial literacy thanks to” New England Patriots LB Matt Light.

Through his Light Foundation’s My Money Matters program, Matt Light was at a middle school last week “to meet with the young men about what they’ve learned thus far in the program, and Light also accepted a grant award from NFL Charities to help fund the program.”

Light told the boys: “Each day, try to take another step forward. As a team, we never sit down and look at what we’ve accomplished. I’ve done the same practice 5,000 times, but I’m always trying to get better. It will never be good enough. If you take that mentality to the classroom, I promise you’ll have success” (Shalise Manza Young, Providence Journal, 4/1).

Jason Witten: In Ft. Worth, Charean Williams noted that Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten received NFL Charities’ grant of $20,000 to his SCORE Foundation. Witten’s foundation, which works with shelters for battered families, “will use the money to fund a male mentor, known as a Jason Witten SCOREkeeper, for the staff of an Arlington Safe Haven shelter.”

Witten: “I came from a broken home, but nothing like this. I was like many people out there in the country. Obviously, I had a person in my life — my grandfather — who came in and showed me the way. But more than anything, I think we as NFL players have a platform. They look up to that, and we can just let them know it’s OK, and the right way to go about doing things, because a lot of them haven’t seen that. That’s our focus with bringing in a male influence” (Charean Williams, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 4/4).

Chad Pennington: In Miami, Jeff Darlington noted that Miami Dolphins QB Chad Pennington’s $50,000 grant to his 1st and 10 Foundation came “as a result of the charity’s success in recent years.”

Pennington, who “typically keeps his charitable work quiet,” said about the grant, “It’s really special, and we’re really excited about it. We’re just trying to get into the community to serve people. That’s what it’s about” (Jeff Darlington, Miami Herald, 4/2).

Torry and Terrence Holt: The AP noted the $50,000 grant to the Holt Foundation, and added that Torry and Terrence Holt “have made a significant impact through the Holt Foundation they established in 1999 to assist families dealing with cancer.” The money will help fund the KidsCan! program, “specifically designed to help children cope with a cancer-stricken parent, offers art and music therapy at meetings” (AP, 3/30).

Tony Richardson: New York Jets FB Tony Richardson’s grant will go to support his Dictionary Project. will spend time with 240 third-grade children and provide them with new dictionaries. The Dictionary Project, which provides new dictionaries to schoolchildren and emphasizes the importance of literacy and education, is one of the many programs implemented by Richardson’s Rich in Spirit Foundation (NFL).

Meanwhile, other NFLers, Cris Carter and Mike McKenzie, have been busy with their own foundations.

Cris Carter: Former NFL star Cris Carter and his Carter Brothers Charities will host its 6th Annual Charity Golf Classic this June. The mission of Cater Brothers Charities is to provide financial support to organizations whose primary focus is to empower victims of domestic violence and homelessness through intervention, advocacy, and education. The advancement of underprivileged youth through mentoring and educating is another core value of the organization (Carter Brothers Charities).

Mike McKenzie: New Orleans Saints DB Mike McKenzie hosted his annual charity weekend benefitting his 34 Ways Foundation. In its fifth year, the Mike McKenzie Celebrity Charity weekend featured a celebrity bowling tournament, football and cheerleading camp and community outreach day. The weekend event kicked-off with the first annual Bowling to Read Tournament & Silent Auction (34 Ways Foundation).