Top 10 Most Charitable Athletes in Sports Today
The holidays are a time when many of us choose to give back to our communities. Most professional athletes, however, work with charities throughout the year. Each year, millions of dollars from athletes' paychecks go toward supporting various causes throughout the world.
In the spirit of the holidays and giving back to the community, here are the athletes who give back the most, in no particular order.
Beckham supports countless programs, most prominently UNICEF, for which he works as an ambassador and helps with the Unite Against AIDS Campaign. He also has his own charity, the Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust, which, according to looktothestars.org, provides children with wheelchairs, among other causes.
Additionally, Beckham supports numerous other charities, including Malaria No More, the Red Cross, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Peace One Day, to name a few.
Pujols and his wife, Deidre, run the Pujols Family Foundation, which, as its website states, serves to "promote awareness, provide hope and meet tangible needs for families and children who live with Down syndrome.”
The organization, which was founded in 2005, also helps impoverished families in the Dominican Republic. The organization has arranged numerous trips to help out in the Dominican Republic since its founding.
Manning also raised $2.5 million for the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital, according to takepart.com. He also donated $1 million to the University of Mississippi’s Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship fund.
Fitzgerald has a charity called The Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund, and his website lists the work he does with (and without) his charity.
Needless to say, the list is rather long. According to larryfitzgerald.com, Fitzgerald traveled to Ethiopia with Anquan Boldin and Oxfam America to help with various projects, including planting trees and working on an irrigation project.
The First Down Fund also donated 1,000 football helmets to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation’s youth football program. The fund has also donated to other numerous causes, as detailed on Fitzgerald’s site.
Clayton Kershaw donates significant portions of his paychecks to causes in Africa, including his program called Kershaw's Challenge. He and his wife, Ellen, run the program, which aims to change the lives of at-risk children and communities, according to MLB.com.
Clayton and Ellen also run an orphanage in Lukasa, Zambia, for which Kershaw was honored with the Branch Rickey Award in 2013. The award honors “individuals in baseball who contribute unselfishly to their communities and who are strong role models for young people,” per the award's website.
Kershaw also supports various other programs, including Habitat for Humanity. In 2012, he was given the Roberto Clemente Award, which honors the top humanitarian Major League Baseball player. You can bet that when he cashes in on an inevitable nine-digit paycheck in the future, Kershaw will put a great deal of it toward his charity work.
Williams has received numerous awards for her charity work, including the Celebrity Role Model Award from the Avon Foundation for her work fighting breast cancer, and the “Young Heroes Award” for her support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, according to takepart.com.
Williams is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and she has traveled to Ghana with UNICEF to advocate for better education for children in the developing world.
Jeter established his Turn 2 Foundation in 1996, with the mission to "create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and 'TURN 2' healthy lifestyles," per the foundation's website.
In its 17 years of existence, the foundation has awarded over $18 million to its cause.
Gordon has 88 wins in his NASCAR career, but he also runs the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. According to its website, the foundation's ultimate goal is to reach the day when no child will have to face cancer.
In 2009, Gordon's foundation established the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at Riley Hospital for Children. This cost $1.5 million, and it has helped Riley make strides in developing treatments for Neuroblastoma (solid tumors) and brain tumors, per the organization's website.
The website also details numerous other ways in which Gordon has used his time and money to help with cancer research and other causes.
Much of James’ notoriety comes from The Decision, a 75-minute segment, in which he announced his intention to sign with the Miami Heat, in the 2010 offseason. But did you know that, according to takepart.com, James raised $2.5 million for the Boys and & Girls Clubs of America from the broadcast?
Additionally, according to looktothestars.org, James supports After-School All-Stars, Children’s Defense Fund and ONEXONE. He has also established the LeBron James Family Foundation.
Tiger Woods has made headlines off the course for the wrong reasons, but that shouldn’t take away from the work he has done during the last 15 years or so.
Woods runs the Tiger Woods Foundation, which works to provide college access for underserved youth. According to its website, the foundation "has reached millions of young people by delivering unique experiences and innovative educational opportunities for youth worldwide" since it was founded in 1996.
Additionally, the foundation has an annual concert called Tiger Jam, which has raised $14 million since its inaugural event in 1998.