Whether you’re a sports fan or even a casual observer of the celebrity scene, it’s hard to avoid seeing stories of well-paid professional athletes showcasing their wealth and buying expensive toys. These images sell many tabloids, magazines and space for TV ads, and are meeting the needs of many consumers who wish to live their lives indirectly through their idols.
Sport Celebrities Who Make a Difference
Unfortunately, these tales of fame and fortune tend to overshadow the less flashy but heavier stories about athletes who are involved in charitable giving. Countless sports stars have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to raise money and help create organizations that provide help or assistance to those less fortunate.
For these people, giving back is more than showing up at a hospital once a year or signing memorabilia for a charity auction. It is about doing the hard work of networking, fundraising and coordination to set up an organization that helps to improve the lives of people they have never met. Their hope is to create something that, hopefully, will remain long after the athletes themselves are gone and forgotten.
Although America spends a lot of time and attention on sports, these athletes are fully aware of where our priorities should be – and are nowhere near the field, court or arena. So, instead of dropping coins on the last ride, crib or indispensable accessory, these altruistic souls are allocating their hard-earned money to make a difference; not only in the lives of the people served by the charities to which they are affiliated, but also taking advantage of their success to make the world a little better place to live.
Here are ten of the most talented athletes in ten different sports who have generously donated their time and money to charities around the world:
Basketball: Dikembe Mutombo
During his NBA days, Dikembe Mutombo was known for his bullet strokes followed by his subsequent flicking of fingers. But the story will portray the ex-Nugget / Hawk / 76er / Net / Knick / Rocket of 7’2 “as one of the champions most dedicated to the eradication of poverty in Africa. Mutombo, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, founded his namesake in 1997 to help people in his homeland. In the past thirteen years, he has donated more than $ 15 million to build the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in his hometown, Kinshasa, improve access to primary health care and strengthen research and health education in the country.
Football: Eli Manning
The younger Brother Manning is one of the only five Super Bowl MVPs in history, but the New York quarterback is also a “giant” in the world of philanthropy. Eli Manning helped with voluntary efforts to clean up Hurricane Katrina and is a longtime advocate of the American Red Cross. Most recently, he completed a five-year campaign to raise $ 2.5 million to build the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital. Ole Miss also donated $ 1 million to his alma mater’s Opportunity Scholarship fund, and he also donated generously to other charities, such as Phoenix House, March of Dimes, St. Francis Food and Pantry Shelters.
Baseball: Derek Jeter
Maybe it has something to do with playing in New York. The Yankees’ success is not only headline off the field for their romantic getaways, but also for their altruism. In 1996, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation (referring to both his shirt number and his propensity to double-dice), in an effort to help children at risk “get away” from drugs and alcohol. The organization also supports programs that reward children for making healthy lifestyle choices and standing out academically. Since its inception, the Turn 2 Foundation has averaged more than $ 1 million a year in grants for programs not only in and around the Big Apple, but also in its home country, western Michigan.
Hockey: Eric Lindros
The 13-year-old NHL veteran (hey, he played Rangers! Go New York!) Hung his skates one day in November 2007 and immediately announced immediately that he would give a $ 5 million donation to the London Health Sciences Center in Ontario. It is the gesture of “devolution” par excellence, since Lindros was not only frequently treated in medical facilities throughout his hockey career, but was also born in that city. In addition, he joined Easter Seals to found the Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic in Ontario, which raised more than $ 116,000 at its most recent event.
Football: David Beckham
The world-renowned football player has a list of charitable donations that are almost his athletic achievements on the pitch. It is headed by the Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust, a body that helps finance and support initiatives aimed at reducing poverty, promoting education and reducing homelessness. He helped found the Malaria No Eradication Group No More, has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2005 and is on the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Hall of Fame. Other charities supported by Beckham include Help for Heroes, which aims to help injured personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and supported the Elton John Foundation for AIDS, Unite for Children / Unite Against AIDS, and the veterans advocacy group war for Help for Heroes.
Auto racing: Jeff Gordon
The NASCAR champion does more than just drive in circles. In 1999, he created the Jeff Gordon Foundation to focus on children with cancer, not only funding treatment programs and research studies, but also to find ways to improve the quality of life for children affected by the disease. In addition, the pilot’s efforts resulted in the opening of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord, North Carolina, in 2006. He also participated in the Drive to End Hunger campaign, piloted by AARP (sponsor of his race car).
Golf: Tiger Woods
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny two facts about Tiger Woods: he is one of the best players of his generation and is incredibly generous with his wealth. The Tiger Woods Foundation, created in 1996, has accumulated more than $ 30 million in grants, scholarships, internships and other aids to help underprivileged youth attend college. The Tiger Woods Learning Center helps children learn about specialized subjects (such as graphic design, marine biology and aerospace engineering) to help prepare them for a rewarding career. He also donated his time and money to Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Rainforest Foundation Fund and Caddy for a Cure.
Tennis: Andre Agassi
The former tennis “bad boy” did very well for students in his hometown, Las Vegas. In 2001, he helped build and finance the Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy, a charter school that offers free education to underprivileged children in the city. Not only did Agassi donate millions to the academy, but his Foundation for Education, which bears the same name, has helped raise $ 177 million over the past two decades. Talk about “serving to win”.
Figure Skating: Kristi Yamaguchi
His Olympic success and grace on the ice are well documented, but many people may not know that Yamaguchi has been helping children since 1996 with his Always Dream Foundation. The organization starts helping children with reading programs and helps to improve literacy skills as they grow up. Over the years, the group has paid for everything from clothes to computers and summer camp classes for children of all ages. Yamaguchi’s charity is also a partner of Footsteps2Brilliance and Raising a Reader to use technology to help students learn in a dozen schools in the Bay Area.
Swimming: Michael Phelps
The record-breaking swimmer has been busy since his inspiring performance in the Beijing Olympic pool (and not just selling Subway sandwiches). He took his $ 1 million bonus from the Speedo he won by winning his eight gold medals and founded the Michael Phelps foundation, which is a partner of Special Olympics and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help children with goal setting programs, personal strengthening and physical conditioning. It also donates swimming caps signed by Phelps to nonprofits for fundraising efforts through its Caps for a Cure program, and supports the Level Field Fund to help bridge funding gaps for talented swimmers in the U.S.