The goal of Payton's Play It Forward Foundation is to raise funds and awareness to help families and children in need in the areas of health, education and social welfare.
"Beth and I have proudly called New Orleans home for the past two years and being able to begin Payton's Play It Forward Foundation is something we are extremely proud to do," said Payton. "Our goals and desires are to help New Orleans return to prominence as one of the greatest cities in the world. However, at this time, work still needs to be done on a number of different levels to help people regain their footing and we have every intention on playing our part."
Payton, 2006 NFL Coach of the Year, has guided the New Orleans Saints to an 18-16 record in his two seasons as the head coach, and owns the distinction of guiding the team to its first-ever appearance in an NFC Championship game (2007).
Payton's Play It Forward Foundation will serve as a catalyst and fund-raising vehicle for various non-profit organizations to build and support their infrastructures, extend their reach, and bring effective programs to scale. These multiple approaches shall serve to advance the mission of enriching lives and strengthening the New Orleans community and the Gulf South region.
Payton also announced that the Foundation will hold its first annual Black & Gold Gala fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 10 at the Louisiana Superdome. ESPN's Chris Berman will serve as the Gala's master of ceremonies. In addition, Payton cited three of the main benefactors for this year's Gala: Brad Pitt's Make It Right NOLA; Blaine Kern's First Responders Fund; and the Dr. Phil Foundation, benefiting children in need in Louisiana. It was also announced that the Foundation will open up a limited number of individual tickets to the October 10th Gala for $250 each.
As will become tradition with Payton's Play It Forward Foundation, Sean and Beth will identify honorary chairs for the Black & Gold Gala. This year, the Foundation is proud to honor Irma Thomas and Jimmy Buffett.
"Beth and I both feel that it is important to honor someone that has had a positive impact on this community in one way or another," said Payton. "I felt that both Irma and Jimmy not only exemplify that but they are also two people that bring joy to so many people through their music and their love for this city."
One of the main fund raising aspects of the foundation will be a commemorative line of jewelry being designed specifically for Payton's Play It Forward Foundation and will be available to be purchased exclusively at Friend & Company Fine Jewelers on Maple St., in New Orleans.
"We felt our partnership with Ken Friend and his staff at Friend & Company Fine Jewelers would be unique and beneficial for everyone," said Payton. "They produce high quality jewelry, we value their expertise and we appreciate our relationship with them, and on top of it, we are designing a specific line of jewelry that when purchased benefits the foundation, so it is a win-win."