DeMeco Ryans Foundation. The 2005 Lott IMPACT® Trophy winner from Alabama began his foundation in 2007. Its mission is “to create innovative programs that provide access to educational, recreational and healthy living initiatives designed to positively aid in the development of youth.”
J.J. Watt Foundation. Watt, the 2010 Lott IMPACT® Trophy winner is now an NFL mega star with the Houston Texans. Here is the mission statement from his foundation: “Our mission is to provide after-school opportunities for children in the community to become involved in athletics, so that they may learn the basic character traits of accountability, teamwork, leadership, work ethic and perseverance while in a safe and supervised environment with their peers.”
A.J. Hawk, Hawk’s Locks for Kids. The 2005 Lott finalist from Ohio State is now retired after playing eleven seasons with the Falcons, Bengals and Packers. His charity raises money and collects donated hair for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Jim Leonhard, Teammates for Kids. Jim, a finalist in 2004, has chosen to support Teammates For Kids, a part of the Garth Brooks Foundation. Through a team built with integrity and in partnership with professional athletes, celebrities, organizations, and fans, the Teammates for Kids Foundation exists to develop and implement innovative concepts that generate funds for the benefit of children’s charities. The purpose of the Foundation is to contribute financial resources to selected nonprofit organizations that effectively serve and benefit children with an emphasis on health, education, and inner-city services.
Anthony Barr, Raise the Barr. Barr, the 2013 Lott IMPACT® Trophy winner is now a starting linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. His foundation is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for low-income single- parent families by providing single parents access to a post secondary education or certification.
Luke Kuechly, Project Life. The 2011 Lott winner from Boston College was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. Kuechly recently became a spokesman for Project Life, a nonprofit that was started at Davidson College in North Carolina. Since 1989, Project Life has connected with over 25 universities to register college students for bone marrow donation. “It’s an opportunity to do something simple to save someone’s life,” Kuechly said. “With bone marrow, everyone thinks it’s a painful thing, but all you have to do is swab your cheek and you’re in the registry.”
Eric Kendricks, Sacks for Kids. Kendricks, the 2014 Lott IMPACT® Trophy winner is now a starting linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings. He has teamed up with Cargill and his teammates to help keep kids in Minnesota fed and healthy by making a pledge for every sack they record this season. Proceeds go to Kendricks’ Dreambuilders program in support of The Sheridan Story.
Brian Orakpo Leukemia Golf Tournament. Orakpo, a 2008 finalist from Texas is now with the Tennessee Titans. He says: “What leukemia patients go through on a day to day basis, deal with this particular disease…It’s so easy for me to play football, but them, it’s life or death. I try and lift their spirits in any way I can.”
Derrick Johnson’s Defend The Dream Foundation. The Texas standout was a finalist in year No. 1, 2004. He’s been a starting linebacker his entire career with the Kansas City Chiefs. The mission of his foundation is to provide low income and inner city young people with opportunities and resources to reach their full potential. The foundation will impact the lives of more than 30,000 at risk Kansas City children by the end of 2016.
Sam Acho and Emmanuel Acho, Living Hope Ministries. The brothers from Texas have both played in the NFL. Sam (2010 finalist) is with the Bears after four seasons with the Cardinals. Emmanuel (2011 finalist) spent two years with the Eagles before an injury sidelined him. Their parents founded a mission project in Nigeria and both brothers travel there every year. “Every summer, along with a team of medical professionals who have bought into the vision, our family returns to Nigeria with Living Hope Ministries to provide medical care to those in need. Some of our teammates have even joined us on these trips.”
Myron L. Rolle Foundation. Rolle was a Rhodes Scholar after being named a Lott finalist in 2008. The Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to the support of health, wellness, educational and other charitable initiatives throughout the world that benefit children and families in need.
Eric Berry Foundation. After being drafted by the Chiefs in the first round of the 2010 draft, Berry, a Lott finalist in 2009, partnered up with astro-turf to donate a turf football field to the City of Fairburn’s (Georgia) youth. The field was installed at Duncan Park, where Eric played youth football. Since the installation of the football field, the City of Fairburn has joined in and implemented a two-phase plan to beautify areas around the field and throughout the park.
Patrick Peterson Foundation. A finalist from 2010, the former LSU star is an All-Pro with the Cardinals. His foundation “provides low-income and inner-city youth opportunities and resources to aid their growth.”