Travis Kelce - Chiefs - 2020 Man of the year nominee

Travis Kelce - MOTY Nominee - Chiefs - Profile Hero
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) poses for a picture with children from a local YMCA during a shopping spree at JcPenney, Tuesday, December 6, 2016, in Independence, Missouri.

Travis Kelce

TIGHT END

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Demonstrates Excellence on The Field

A Kansas City Chief his entire career, over eight seasons, Travis Kelce's name has become synonymous with excellence at the tight end position. Originally entering the NFL as the 63rd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Kelce's initial season was derailed before it began due to a knee injury. However, from that time on, he's been one of the most consistent performers on the gridiron, regardless of position. Travis entered the 2020 season having secured five consecutive Pro Bowl nominations and has caught a pass in 101 consecutive games (through 10/22/20), the second-longest streak in franchise history. During the 2018 season, he recorded 1,336 receiving yards which is the most by a tight end in a single season in Chiefs history. That mark also briefly broke the NFL's single-season receiving yards record by a tight end before the 49ers George Kittle broke the record later that same day. Travis passed the 1,000-receiving yards mark in the 2019 season, becoming the first tight end in NFL history to have four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The Cincinnati product caught three touchdown passes in the club's 2019 AFC Divisional win vs. Houston, setting a franchise single-game postseason record, and becoming the first player in the Super Bowl era to record three receiving touchdowns in a single quarter in a postseason game. Travis owns the franchise's second-best mark for receptions and fourth-best mark for receiving yards in the regular season, as well as the top marks in both categories for the Chiefs postseason history. Travis was voted by teammates as a team captain prior to the club's postseason contests following the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year

In Kansas City, Travis' charitable focus has been fixed on his partnership with Operation Breakthrough. Some 80% of its clients live on less than $12,000 annually while 65% of the children which Operation Breakthrough serves have experienced trauma or witnessed one or more incidents of violence by the age of five. Candidly, this agency has self-described it's work as being focused on serving "the poorest of the poor" in Kansas City.

This year, Travis' efforts with Operation Breakthrough were personified over the summer, in the immediate aftermath of signing a fresh contract extension with the Chiefs. Before the proverbial ink had dried on that new pact, Travis announced a $500,000 donation to Operation Breakthrough, which allowed for the purchase of a new building for the agency. This former automotive shop will be transformed into the "Ignition Lab: Powered by Eighty-Seven & Running." With this commitment, Travis noted his goal was to try and eliminate barriers which disallowed teenagers from the urban core to explore futures and careers in the STEM sectors. As a result, the agency, which presently serves over 650 youth ages 6 months to 14 years daily, will be able to expand that reach to include those up to the age of 18. "The vision is to give these teens in KC's underserved neighborhoods a safe haven," Kelce noted. "A place where they are exposed to interests and role models far beyond the field or court. Kids can't concentrate if they don't feel safe. They can't envision a career they've never heard of or learn a skill they've never been taught."

Additionally, his Eighty-Seven & Running Foundation made a $26,000 donation this off-season to ensure that Operation Breakthrough was able to keep its doors open. This benevolence was necessitated to cover a shortfall in funding for the agency, which was created by providing previously unbudgeted COVID-19 response assistance. He also steered a $4,000 donation to Harvesters (creating 150,000 pounds of food) so that this local food bank could provide nourishment for Operation Breakthrough's food-insecure population, which was directly impacted by the stresses of the pandemic. In his hometown of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Travis worked with the Heights Foundation this year on a pair of financial contributions. His foundation gifted $14,000 to the group to cover the cost of various school supplies to assist with off-site learning during the pandemic.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past

Since the inception of the Eighty-Seven & Running Foundation in 2015, Travis has forged a spirit of benevolence. To date, he has personally donated $750,000 for charitable efforts via the foundation, with another $250,000 scheduled to be made before the end of this year. However, his generosity predates the establishment of his foundation. Prior to its creation, Travis also personally donated more than $125,000 to support various charitable initiatives and endeavors close to his heart. The signature fundraising effort of Eighty-Seven & Running is the "Walk the Walk" fashion show. This charitable extravaganza, which was the brainchild of Travis himself, has raised more than $100,000 and has been held in support of groups in both Kansas City (2017-2019) and Cleveland (2019).

Throughout his time in Kansas City, Kelce has made many visits to Operation Breakthrough not merely for events or fundraising opportunities with donors, but just to spend time and be there as a mentor for the kids. One large charitable collaboration was a $45,000 donation to create the Eighty-Seven & Running Robotics Lab, which has afforded 200 kids from the agency and another 400 from area schools to experience STEAM opportunities. However, Travis has also made it a priority to include the agency in efforts such as his regular youth football camps and holiday shopping sprees, which has required scholarship funding of nearly $9,000 to facilitate. Travis has also used his platform to bring awareness to Operation Breakthrough and the kids they support thanks to partnerships with various businesses, both locally and nationwide. 

While his efforts in Kansas City have intentionally gravitated toward Operation Breakthrough, he also has a track record of working in his home state of Ohio with the Heights Foundation, helping the group serve 5,000 youth in the school district. Travis also made an $80,000 donation to the group in 2019 to support transportation, allowing its children to participate in after-school programming. Kelce is also a regular there, visiting with the youth to serve as a first-hand example of how hard work and dedication can help anyone attain their future goals. Additionally, he has also worked to support various other local and national organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and Children's Mercy Hospital.

Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back

Travis Kelce started the Eighty-Seven & Running Foundation because of what he saw during his childhood. Growing up in the diverse suburb of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, his community transcended normal economic and cultural boundaries; merging rich and poor, black and white, and different religious affiliations into one big melting pot. Because of this, he noticed some of his closest friends didn't have the same family structure he was blessed with and weren't able to enjoy the same experiences. While he was supported by "the village" of family and individuals in the community, Kelce struggled in school and at times lacked the motivation to keep going. Many of the people he considered role models in the community never came back to support their hometown once they reached success. Therefore, his Eighty-Seven & Running Foundation helps underserved youth strive to become productive citizens by mentoring and motivating them to explore and develop their abilities while learning critical life skills. In all, the organization remains dedicated to providing resources and enrichment opportunities for youth and their communities through fundraising, athletic programs, mentoring, and outreach initiatives.

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