Giving Back


I notice on so many occasions as I save daily information to the Hall of Fame's files inside the Archives & Information Center that pro football players receive so much negative criticism each and every week both on and off the field. Thankfully, these players, both past and present, have been taught to remain optimistic despite facing so much negativity. In doing so, they lift themselves, their team and their community to greater heights. It's amazing to see the countless ways these men make positive contributions to communities across our country each and every day.

And, they keep doing so long after their playing careers end. Look no further for great examples than from what some of the players, coaches and contributors enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame are achieving through charities, foundations and their own good will.

So many of the Hall of Famers support our efforts all year long whether it's returning for the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival or participating in special educational programs we do. We, in turn try to attend a variety of events in which they are giving back to their communities through philanthropic endeavors.

On Wednesday, our Vice President - Merchandise Sales/Licensing Steve Strawbridge participated in the Steve Young/Jerry Rice Bay Area Classic. The golf outing was held at CordeValle Golf Club to raise funds to benefit the 8 to 80 Zones, The Tech Museum, and the Forever Young Foundation. Here's a shot of Young and Rice with Johnny Miller.

In 1993, Forever Young was established to support community projects and non-profit organizations effectively serving the therapeutic and academic needs of seriously ill and underprivileged children. Through Jerry's vision in 1996, Rice and Young teamed up to create the 8 to 80 Multimedia Zone which provides youth living in underserved communities the skills and hope to pursue careers and inspiration to become innovators in the field of technology and media.

Rice and Young aren't alone. Other Hall of Famers who've been busy reaching out include:

Another long-time 49ers star, Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott is giving back to the youth of our country through his All Stars Helping Kids Foundation. They have recently partnered with Winning Plays, a nationally recognized financial education program created by Journalist Stacey Tisdale.

Lott wanted his foundation to include a life-skills program, and Winning Plays was one which appealed to him. The goal of their partnership is to make sure this life-skills and money management program is part of the core studies in as many school systems as possible. Lott was on-hand at Eagle Academy, an all-boys public charter school in the Bronx, earlier this month to help launch its financial literacy and education curriculum.

The honorable Alan Page also finds himself out in the community quite a bit. His Page Education Foundation is based on the principle that "everyone has the ability and opportunity to make this world a better place."

Since its creation in 1988 (also the year he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame) his foundation has helped nearly 5,000 students in Minnesota pay for higher education. It awards grants to students to pursue their educational or vocational aspirations. "These students are my heroes," he said. "Our goal is to lift people up, not to sort them out." A unique twist to Page's foundation is that every grant recipient who takes the money must return to their communities and volunteer.

This past Monday after speaking with the business community of Spokane, Washington in the morning, Page took some time out of his schedule to stop by North Central High School. While he was there he urged students to embrace their educational opportunities and work to make this world a better place.

Check back next week as I will continue to feature Hall of Famers in the news making a difference in our communities.

Previous Next
Go back to all blog listings

Written by: Jon Kendle