By Connor Fulton @ConnorFultonRS on July 26, 2014
Professional athletes are some of the highest-earning members of the job force. While many of them blow that money on frivolous things, some players enjoy spreading the wealth. Here are 20 athletes who are active in giving back to the community.
The legendary shortstop founded the Turn 2 Foundation that gives children and teenagers assistance in avoiding substance abuse. In addition, the cause rewards students who achieve highly in academics and choose healthy lifestyles.
Manning established the PeyBack Foundation in 1999, and the cause has grown substantially each year. The cause provides neglected and disadvantaged youth in Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, and Tennessee with opportunities to learn and widen their understanding of the world.
As one of the more prolific dunkers in the NBA, Griffin gives back to the community with every flush. For each dunk, Griffin donates 0 to the Dunking for Dollars cause that helps to fight childhood obesity. That’s a few hundred bucks per game, and over an 82-game season, it adds up.
To say that the Ghanian soccer player gives back to his home country would be an understatement. In 2012, he donated a third of his monstrous salary to a charity in his home village. He also began the Michael Essien Foundation, which strives to provide infrastructure necessities like clean drinking water and public toilets.
Brady is a main promoter and supporter of Best Buddies International, an organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program provides one-on-one friendships and personal assistance that gives these people chances to succeed in school or on the job.
Back in 2008, Lecavalier spent three million dollars to help build the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. For that contribution, Lecavalier earned the NHL Foundation Player Award.
Big Papi created the David Ortiz Children’s Fund in 2007 to support youth in a range of places including Boston, Massachusetts and his native Dominican Republic. In addition, the slugger has his own wine label, with all proceeds benefitting the Ortiz’s charitable efforts.
The Tim Duncan Foundation benefits health research, education, and youth athletics in San Antonio, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the early 2000s, Sporting News recognized Duncan’s efforts by naming him one of the “Good Guys” in American sports.
In addition to his work through the Steve Nash Foundation, Time Magazine pegged Nash as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006. The following year, Nash earned Canada’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada, for his countless charitable efforts.
The Belmont, Vermont native created the Hannah’s Gold organization that raises money through sales of the state’s maple syrup. In 2009, Teter allocated all of her prize money to help provide schools, fresh water wells, and other infrastructure to the Kenyan village of Kirindon.
Albert and his brother, Deidre, began the Pujols Famly Foundation that raises awareness of Down syndrome, and also aids impoverished families in the Dominican Repulic. Pujols has also taken numerous excursions to the Dominican Republic himself, bringing a group of medical professionals with him.
Due to his multiple foundations and charitable organizations, including the Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund and the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, Fitzgerald is known as one of the more generous NFL players. In 2013, he received the NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award.
In addition to his contributions through The Wade’s World Foundation and the Haiti earthquake relief effort, Wade is known for random acts of kindness. For example, he purchased a new home for a South Florida woman whose house had burned down on Christmas Eve of 2008. He’s also a big supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research hospital.
The Serena Williams Foundation works to counsel and support families that have been affected by violence internally, and to provide the best possible education for underprivileged youth around the world. Williams has also earned the “Young Heroes Award” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles for her mentoring of at-risk youth.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Manning worked with his older brother Peyton in delivering tens of thousands of pounds of supplies to flood victims in the New Orleans region. He has also helped to raise several millions of dollars for the “Eli Manning Children’s Clinics” at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Mississippi.
While Balotelli also ontributes to large charitable organizations like many athletes on this list, he gives back to the community in more personable ways. For example, the spotlight-hogging striker is known for handing wads of bills to homeless men he encounters on the street.
The Boston Bruins center began the Patrice’s Pals program in which children from Boston area hospitals get to watch games in a luxury suite. Bergeron’s efforts earned him the NHL Foundation Player Award this past season.
He may be one of the most hated players in sports—maybe not as much now that he’s back in Cleveland—but James is very generous. Perhaps his most criticized move as a player was “The Decision” broadcast, but that television special alone raised six million dollars for charity.
Heavily involved in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, Brees worked with the Operation Kids charity to help rebuild academic facilities, parks, and other infrastructure and programs for youth. Brees has also helped in the fight against bullying, appearing in an It Gets Better video.
It may come as a surprise, but the NFL’s dirtiest player is also the most generous when it comes to giving back to the community. In 2011, Suh was named America’s most charitable athlete for donating over two and half million dollars to his Alma matter, the University of Nebraska.
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