Most charitable efforts start with a dream, an idea, or a known need in the community. These efforts become a reality when the right philanthropy partnership is established and all resources are considered to see the project through fruition.
What does doing it right look like? We’ve assembled a few examples of current and former NFL players doing good in the community and how they are making an impact.
Explore these examples to learn best practices and get inspired. Or, if you’re ready to start your philanthropic journey now, contact us to set up a no-cost consultation.
Best Practices, Better Results
Find inspiration and learn best practices for your own philanthropic endeavors through the stories below.
Ben Roethlisberger was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2004 and signed a $22 million contract with almost $18 million in incentives. He was motivated to start the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation with the resources he possessed, but was unsure of its mission or purpose. What Ben did know was that he always had a strong love for dogs, so he decided to create a donor-advised fund (DAF) [link to Philanthropy Playbook page] to support the K-9 units of police, fire and sheriff departments across the nation. Shortly after the Foundation’s launch in 2006, his hometown lost its K-9 officer in the line of duty and Ben finally knew what he wanted to do.
With the support of his philanthropy partner, Ben decided to develop the Foundation’s mission to support police and fire department K-9 units across the country by establishing a grant cycle that correlates with the Steelers regular season playing schedule. As a result, Ben’s foundation makes a grant of a K-9 dog and equipment needed for the dog to a police department in every away city in which the Steelers play annually, as well as to several departments in the Pittsburgh area. To date, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation has distributed more than $1.6 million in grants to K-9 units and other charitable entities.
Key take away: A good philanthropy partner can help you formulate creative ways and sustainable financial models to give back to the community by designing a unique program based on your ideas and passions for greater community impact.
Jonathan Vilma was selected to be the beneficiary of a New Orleans Saints event in 2010, even before establishing a charitable entity. His family is Haitian and because 80 percent of Haitians drop out of school by 6th grade because they can’t afford to continue, Jonathan knew he wanted to find a way to help provide educational opportunities for the youth of Haiti. To accomplish this, Jonathan established a grant making donor-advised fund two weeks before the Saints’ fundraiser. Jonathan was connected to the U.S. charity, Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ), as they were building the first free secondary school in Port-auPrince post the 2010 earthquake that destroyed 50 schools in Haiti. Vilma joined APJ as an advisory board member and long term supporter. He made a major financial commitment to APJ. The Academy now provides tuition, uniforms, books, supplies, transportation, health care, extracurricular programs and school lunch to more than 2,500 high school students annually.
Key take away: Your philanthropy coach can help you research numerous charities and programs that are more than willing to partner with you once they have a clear understanding of your philanthropic goals to make a greater impact in the community you are most passionate about.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz created the AO1 Foundation with the mission to “demonstrate the love of God by providing opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need.” To launch his foundation, Carson enlisted the support of the companies that he endorses. The launch of his foundation was attended by more than 300 local residents and business owners in the Fargo, N.D. area and hosted by one of the companies Carson endorses. In one evening, the event raised more than $370K in funds for the AO1 foundation. Using best practices and having the right partners, in less than one year, the AO1 Foundation is positioned to raise more than $1M for youth, veterans and educational purposes.
Key take away: Your philanthropy coach can show you how to deepen your relationship with the companies you endorse to create a more meaningful and impactful partnership that helps you to reach your philanthropic goals and their corporate social responsibility needs.
In the News
See what other current and former players are doing to support the communities they care about. Explore the press releases, news articles, and other stories below.