Grant Services - Advice and Tips

Grants from the Gridiron

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 09:01 AM / by Michelle Hansen

The Super Bowl is just days away. Hostesses are prepping the chips and dip. footballFootball fans are preparing for the biggest game of the year. Players and coaches are game planning. The media is talking about the amount of air in the footballs.

At the we want to take this opportunity to share with you grant-making foundations led by current and former NFL players as well as coaches. These individuals are making an impact on the field and off the field as well. Take a look at some of these foundations when you are planning your project or program.

Like most foundations in general, NFL player’s foundations also have specific causes they fund. Don’t make the assumption that the professional athletes only fund sports activities. Most do fund youth sports. However, a lot of them also fund other topics including those that focus on overall community well being.  

One unique aspect of these foundations is that they are usually focused on specific geographic locations. The athletes mostly support their hometowns, college towns, or community where they are currently playing or have played. Seek out local athletes, or those from your area, when looking for grants from these foundations.

Wes Welker Foundation

Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Wes Welker is dedicated to supporting and encouraging at-risk youth. Through his foundation, Welker awards grants to schools and non-profit organizations within Oklahoma City or the geographic limits of the Oklahoma City Public School District. The grants must be used to serve high school-aged youth or younger. There is no maximum or minimum grant amount. Applications are accepted twice a year, before Sept. 15 and Feb. 15.

Justin J. Watt Foundation

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was a college football player at the University of Wisconsin when he realized not every child had access to athletics. That was the beginning of his foundation. Schools and organizations that provide athletic opportunities to middle–school-aged students (6th-8th grades) during or after school can apply for these grants. The funds must be used to purchase uniforms or equipment for the athletic programs.  Applications are reviewed quarterly (January, March, June, and September). There is no minimum or maximum grant amount. The foundation has awarded over $600,000 in grants since its inception.

Jason Taylor Foundation

Non-profit organizations in south Florida (Miami Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties) can apply for funding from the Jason Taylor Foundation. Taylor is a former Miami Dolphins defensive end. The foundation funds creative, innovative projects that fill an observed need for children in the south Florida community. Projects focused on improved health care, education, and quality of life initiatives are preferred.  Past projects have included reading rooms, school supply donations, and learning centers. Grant amounts depend on the organization’s project budget. Current deadlines are unavailable so check the website for updates.

Kelly Cares Foundation

The Kelly Cares Foundation, founded by Brian and Paqui Kelly, supports health, education, and community through its grant-making foundation. Brian Kelly is the head coach of Notre Dame football. The health component funds breast cancer awareness, prevention, and research. The Foundation supports education at all levels and capacities. Additionally, the Foundation supports projects and initiatives that encourage the engagement of individuals in their local communities. Eligible organizations must be non-profit. The deadline for grant applications is Dec. 31st each year. There is no maximum or minimum grant award. The Foundation has distributed more than $1.2 million in financial support since 2009.

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

Non-profit organizations and schools in New England, New York, New Jersey, Southern California, and select parts of Canada that provide services, education, and advocacy for children with autism spectrum disorder can apply for grants from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation. Flutie was a quarterback in the NFL for several years. Grant guidelines are posted on the website every July. Applications are accepted from the time the guidelines are posted until the end of September. The maximum grant award is $20,000.

NFL Foundation

The NFL Foundation also provides grants to support youth football programs, health and safety initiatives for young athletes, and community programs. The Foundation has nine different grant programs. Some of the money is funneled through the individual NFL teams though the foundation directly offers several grant programs to community organizations and athletic programs as well.

Additionally, the NFL provides grants to organizations in the city where the Super Bowl is played. This year six non-profit organizations received a combined $600,000 in legacy grants through this program. Funds awarded helped with the purchase of athletic equipment, the placement of athletic trainers at local tournaments, student mentoring, protecting the water supply and restoring forest health, full-time coaches in schools, and nutrition education. So whatever the final score of Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona charities are guaranteed a win.

There are many, many more NFL players and coaches that have grant-making foundations. If you don't see your geographic location or grant focus above, contact us. We can help pair you with the right foundation.


Photo Credit: Tim Donovan

Topics: athlete foundations, grant notification, education grants, grant opportunity, grant publicity, football grants, grants for football, grants for breast cancer awareness, grants for athletics, autism grants, NFL, breast cancer grants, health care grants, quality of life grants

Michelle Hansen

Written by Michelle Hansen

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