In today’s world, it can be more common to hear about the wrongdoings of professional athletes rather than the good works they are doing. There are plenty of athletes who have taken up philanthropy as their mission and in doing so, have made extremely important contributions to charitable foundations. Who are some of the world’s most philanthropic athletes and what do they support?
Serena Williams doesn’t just make magic happen on the tennis court; She has also been the recipient of many awards for her charitable works. She works closely with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Family Circle and the Avon Foundation. She is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In this role, she lobbies for better educational opportunities for children living in third-world countries. She is also an active supporter of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit that provides legal representation to those who may have been denied a fair trial.
Dikembe Mutumbo is one of the most charitable athletes in the world. Aside from spending $15 million on a hospital in his native home of Congo, he has also been recognized as a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics. The list of charities he supports is wide ranging, and includes everything from his very own Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to FACE Africa, HOPE Worldwide, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Unicef, ONE Campaign, and Right to Play. It is safe to say that Dikembe Mutumbo is keeping himself busy off the court!
Most people think of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as a champion on the racetrack, but he is a champion for children’s cancer research as well. In 2009, he founded the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. The goal of the foundation is to ultimately reach the day when no child will have to face cancer. In addition to his work for pediatric cancer research, Jeff Gordon is a founding member of Athletes for Hope. In this role, Gordon and other athletes promote charitable causes and encourage athletes and non athletes to support their communities.
While there are plenty of athletes who donate money, Serena Williams, Dikembe Mutumbo and Jeff Gordon stand out among the crowd. Not only have they made sizable donations, they have created foundation in their own names! It is great to see public figures setting a good example of philanthropy!