Most of us have heard the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.” In our culture, professional athletes are looked up to like heroes by kids and adults alike, allowing them to possess great power of influence. While what they do playing their sport is certainly important, the impact that they can make off the field is undeniable. Whether they choose to accept this responsibility or not, is a choice they must make, but we’ve seen first-hand that those who do accept the responsibility are clearly making the world a better place.
According to a study by Harris Interactive, 45% of US adults believe that celebrities can make either a large (11%) or some (33%) positive difference to issues they are promoting. Whether athletes start their own foundations, support an already existing organization, or give generously to multiple charities, the time and money spent to helping raise awareness and funds for causes they care about encourages their fans and in some cases, whole communities of people to join them and take action.
During my career, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many athlete events, organizations, appearances and special programs. For each of the good things athletes do that are publicized in the media, there are many, many more that we don’t hear about, often intentionally. It’s amazing the power an authentic and vested interest in a cause an athlete has . . . a power that can change lives.
Here are some wonderful examples of athletes making an impact beyond sports:
The JJ Watt Foundation as provided over $2.3 million in funding to middle school afterschool athletic programs, giving these student athletes the opportunity to learn life skills including leadership, work ethic and accountability.
Verlander’s Wins for Warriors Foundation advocates for and invests in resources that reengage veterans with their families. Additionally, each home game that Verlander pitches, he donates the use of his suite to veterans and their families allowing them a fun, family-friendly experience together.
Wade launched Wade’s World Foundation to provide support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. He funds the Live to Dream Summer Reading Program at Marquette University, giving back where his college career in basketball began.
In partnership with Gruber Law Offices, Rodgers was part of a series of videos that highlighted the work of amazing non-profit organizations. By being a part of these videos he garnered local and national visibility and funds for the highlighted non-profits.
Williams works tirelessly in fighting breast cancer, Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, Hearts of Gold, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and more. She has been honored with numerous awards for her philanthropic efforts.
The #Hartnelldown Foundation provides support to charities that support hockey, children and communities around the US and Canada. Among many things, the organization provides between five and 10 all-expenses paid scholarships for disadvantaged Philadelphia youths to attend the highly respected Minnesota Hockey Camp.
The power athletes in our culture have today is incredible. When an athlete respects that power and chooses to do good with it, their reach and impact transcends their sport. I’ve seen it transforms lives. It’s why I love doing the work that I do with athletes. In the end, it makes a difference.
Capture Marketing is a public relations and events agency experienced in developing creative solutions on behalf of corporations, foundations, professional athletes and other celebrities. We believe that Doing Good is Good Business™ (DGIGB) and partner with our clients to advance their cause marketing initiatives.