Formed in 1973, NFL Charities is a nonprofit organization that enables NFL teams and their players to contribute collectively to charitable causes on a national level. NFL Charities, which has approved more than $110 million in grants to more than 300 different organizations since its inception, donates more than $10 million in grants annually to support causes such as sports-related medical research, youth health programs and the charitable work of current and former NFL players. For more information on NFL Charities, visit Jointheteam.com.
Here is some background on the five foundations being recognized this week:
Torry and Terrence Holt's Holt Foundation
Torry and Terrence Holt will spend time with families who benefit from the Holt Foundation's KidsCan! Cancer Education Program and participate in the discussion sessions with adults, teens and youngsters who are battling cancer within their families. The Holt brothers also will be recognized for their community service during the event and will receive an NFL Charities grant for $50,000 as part of NFL Charities Week. The grant will by used by the Holt Foundation's KidsCan! program to offer art and music therapy at meetings, enable families within the program to participate in once-in-a-lifetime memorable experiences and further enhance the education and coping process for children. In 1996, the matriarch of the Holt family, Ojetta V. Holt-Shoffner, lost a hard-fought battle with cancer. A fight with cancer is a fight that no one ever plans to face, yet millions of families are forced to every year. As a result, millions of children must deal with feelings and emotions that most adults would have difficulty enduring. As the Holt family experienced life-altering feelings and circumstances through their bout with cancer, they vowed to improve the quality of life for families who are fighting the disease, in particular children coping with a cancer-stricken parent.
When the Holt brothers entered the NFL, they chose to use their talent and fame to make the family promise a reality. Established in 1999, The Holt Foundation strives to provide assistance with a focus of efforts on the communication, education and leadership for children who are dealing with their parent's illness. For more information, visit www.holtfoundation.com.
Matt Light's Light Foundation
New England offensive tackle Matt Light will lead a financial literacy class with seventh- and eighth-grade students as part of the Light Foundation's My Money Matters program. He will speak with children about the importance of financial management and will receive an NFL Charities grant for $10,000, presented by Patriots owner Robert Kraft as part of NFL Charities Week. The grant will by used by the Light Foundation to expand the My Money Matters program with curriculum development and teaching materials for the program.
The Light Foundation strives to empower young people to reach their highest potential by initiating and supporting hands-on programs and events that promote the development of rational moral values and personal financial acumen to instill a sense of self-reliance, sufficiency and independence.
They accomplish this mission by combining traditional outdoor activities and experiences with athletic endeavors, addressing both physical and mental goals. For more information on The Light Foundation, visit www.mattlight72.com.
Tony Richardson's Rich in Spirit Foundation
New York Jets fullback Tony Richardson, a Queens, N.Y., resident, will host a "Dictionary Project" event at P.S. 14 Fairview. He will spend time with 240 third-grade children and provide them with new dictionaries. The Dictionary Project, which provides new dictionaries to schoolchildren and emphasizes the importance of literacy and education, is one of the many programs implemented by Richardson's Rich in Spirit Foundation. Richardson also will be recognized for his community service during the event and will receive an NFL Charities grant for $25,000 as part of NFL Charities Week. The grant will by used by the Rich in Spirit Foundation to continue fund the Dictionary Project as well as additional charitable endeavors by Richardson.
Richardson established the Rich in Spirit Foundation in 1999 to extend a helping hand in order to uplift the lives and spirits of individuals who society has turned its back on, with particular attention to enhancing personal growth in children. By being good neighbors and extending our hands to them, we hope to provide an example to others through our good deeds.
Chad Pennington's 1st and 10 Foundation
Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington will host his first Share Our Soles event in the Miami area at a local Dave & Busters. He will spend time with 75 children from the Miami Cooperative Feeding Program and provide them with new sneakers and backpacks. Share Our Soles, which provides new footwear to children in need, is one of the many programs supported by Pennington's 1st and 10 Foundation. Pennington also will be recognized for his community service during the event and will receive an NFL Charities grant for $50,000 as part of NFL Charities Week.
Chad and Robin Pennington created the 1st and 10 Foundation in 2003 to build stronger communities by funding programs and institutions that seek to improve quality of life throughout West Virginia, East Tennessee and South Florida. For more information, visit www.1stand10Foundation.com.
Jason Witten's S.C.O.R.E. Foundation
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will join a group of children from Safe Haven of Tarrant County in an afternoon of bowling and activities. His S.C.O.R.E. Foundation works with shelters for battered families like Safe Haven. Witten also will be recognized for his community service during the event and will receive an NFL Charities grant for $20,000 as part of NFL Charities Week. The grant will be used to fund a male mentor, known as a Jason Witten SCOREkeeper, for the staff of another shelter in the state of Texas. The S.C.O.R.E. Foundation currently funds the SCOREkeeper position, which is designed to have positive male interaction with children from abusive homes, at six shelters in the state.
Now in its second year, Jason Witten's S.C.O.R.E. Foundation has made a tremendous impact in Texas and in Jason's home state of Tennessee. The foundation has taken up the fight against domestic violence by launching the Jason Witten SCOREkeepers Program in six family violence shelters across the state of Texas. The program seeks to break the cycle of violence by funding a male mentor on the staffs of these shelters, providing positive interaction with children from an abusive home. The foundation has also opened Jason Witten Teen Centers at Boys & Girls Club centers in Dallas and his hometown of Elizabethton, Tenn. Jason will also be on hand this June for the grand opening of the Jason Witten Emergency Waiting Room at the brand new Niswonger Children's Hospital in Johnson City, Tenn. For his extensive work in the community, Jason was selected as the 2008 Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP and he was honored last year as one of the 30 Stars Over Texas by the Texas Council on Family Violence for his work against domestic violence.