Sports and Charity

In professional sports, many athletes state that their greatest passion off the field is giving back to their community. Giving back is an important cause for many athletes, as many struggled through their upbringing financially, socially or educationally. Even athletes who grew up in a privileged household cite giving back to their community as an integral part of their career, acknowledging that with great success comes great responsibility. Although some of the most charitable athletes have been plagued in unrelated scandals, it hasn’t affected their aspirations to make a positive difference in the world. Read on about the 5 most charitable names in professional sports and feel inspired to get involved in your community.
1. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods started the Tiger Woods Foundation in 1996, which “reached millions of young people by delivering unique experiences and innovative educational opportunities for youth worldwide.” Despite his numerous scandals over the years, Woods remains as one of the most charitable professional athletes of all time.
2. Ndamukong Suh
Known as one of the NFL’s dirties players, Suh is also one of the most generous. He donated $2.6 million to the University of Nebraska, and a $250 to his former high school. The Detroit Lions defensive tackle also started the Ndamukong Suh Family Foundation, and has continued to donate millions of dollars throughout his five-year NFL career.
3. Eli Manning
Eli Manning and his wife raised $2.5 million for the the Eli Manning Children’s Clinics at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, and also donated an additional $1 million to their alma mater, Ole Miss. Manning has also been an avid supporter of the March of Dimes, Red Cross, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters, and the Phoenix House.
4. LeBron James
Following his decision to come play for the Miami Heat in 2010, Lebron raised $2.5 million for the Boys & Girls Clubs and an additional $3.5 million that was donated to various other charities. James also established the LeBron James Family Foundation and has also supported After-School All-Stars, the Children’s Defense Fund, ONEXONE, and Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation.
5. Derek Jeter
The face of the New York Yankees for more than 17 years, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996 to help teenagers avoid drugs and alcohol abuse, and to reward those with high levels of academic achievement. Still going strongly today, Jeter vowed to commit more time to the cause now that he is retired. Other notable charities Jeter supports are Stand Up To Cancer and the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Spirit of Giving is not a professional athlete, but the nonprofit organization is the Official Charity Sponsor for the ESPN Boca Raton Bowl, the first ever college football bowl game in Palm Beach County. For the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl in 2014, Spirit of Giving worked with 100 organizations to help more than 5,500 at risk children attend their first bowl game –for free. In December 2015, Spirit of Giving will return as the event’s official charity sponsor and has plans to collaborate with more local nonprofit organizations to give away more Boca Bowl tickets for needy children and families.
Want to get involved with the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl? E-mail for more information.