On Giving Back (Are You Doing It Wrong?)

Years ago I worked for a very prominent non-profit organization, working with “at-risk” teenagers.  The tax short-hand for non-profit is 501c3, which means that we set a budget at the beginning of the year for what it costs to do the work we need to do to help these kids, only a portion of which can be for staff, and have to raise the budget throughout the year for all of the work we do.  Then, and the end of the year, we have to net zero.  There cannot be any profit.

The one program I ran out of this huge 501c3 cost about $300,000 to run.  It served hundreds and hundreds of kids a year in lots of capacities, but it was still an expensive thing to do.  After all, I had a building, and staff, and tons of bills.

Where did I get the money to pay for all of that?  Mostly from foundations.  Foundations are groups set up, tax-free, to collect money and shuttle it via grants or donations to the non-profits and “charities.”  (Charity, by the way, is kind of a passe word).

What does this have to do with FOOTBALL?

Well, I’ve noticed that a lot – most, even – of football players have foundations set up in their names.  This means that they are establishing a pool of money – a resource – tax-free – to use for charitable purposes.

But I’ve also noticed that sometimes the foundations are doing the work themselves – putting on literacy events or sports camps or whatever.

Now sporadic events for awareness, and to get peripheral donors to give to your foundation, thus growing your funds, is a good strategy.  But it also makes me think that players don’t really know how the non-profit world works.  And why would they?  They are in a totally different industry!

Remember, it should work like this:

Football Player establishes Foundation

Foundation collects money (TAX WRITE OFF!) from Football Player (and any rich friends)

A Foundation Board of Trustees determines which 501c3’s do the good work that align with the values of the Foundation, and they give grants and donations, accordingly – since they are too busy being rich and playing football and stuff.  And the people who do this good work already know what they are doing.

I think most of them are doing it wrong

I have seen so many Instagrams and Facebooks of so-and-so’s Foundation who does this kind of work.  Again, I say – your work is football.  Do that well – make the money – so that you can fund the people who do the work you want to do.

It may be technical, but it is important.

For a list of players and their Foundations as well as the Non-Profits they represent, click HERE! (It’s super interesting, actually).

Hugs and loves!


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