In 2017, Paris St. Germain paid €222 million to Futbol Club Barcelona and in return received the 25 year-old soccer phenom Neymar. After joining the club, Neymar received a deal reportedly worth upwards of €450 million. In essence, PSG spent half a billion euros to reel in a soccer player in his mid-20s to play for their team. To the average person, this is an unfathomable sum. To Neymar, it’s the beginning of something bigger.
Neymar is from Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, Brazil. He is the heartbeat of the Brazilian National Team and an unabashed superstar. His fame, to quantify, puts him in the top 10 of most followed accounts on Instagram at 107.4 million followers. The question with athletes hitting their peak often becomes, what’s next? For Neymar, his answer is philanthropy.
In 2014, Neymar started his own charity called Instituto Neymar Jr. (INJR), which is a “non-profit civil society organization dedicated to social causes and serving thousands of children, adolescents and their families, reaching 10,000 people affected by the work done.” The vision behind the organization is to create a space that nurtures youth through education and athletics. Neymar Sports, his namesake soccer school, donates 1% of its revenue to INJR.
Along with his own charity, Neymar has also worked with Waves for Water, auctioning off signed sports gear to raise money for the organization. According to TradingEconomics, nearly 15 percent of Brazil’s population is rural, equating to 31 million people. For many in the country, it can be prohibitively difficult to access clean water and sanitation. Waves for Water seeks to tackle this problem by providing filters to rural communities. The peril facing water security in the area has only risen in recent months with a new Brazilian president threatening the Amazon rainforest. Neymar is trying to do his part to ensure that clean water is accessible to everyone.
In addition to serving his home country, Neymar works with Humanity & Inclusion, an organization that provides opportunities for children with intellectual and physical disorders to teach skills and demonstrate their many talents to others. Neymar volunteered as their first student, learning skills like relaxation and origami.
Neymar is still a kid to many people around the world, making an outlandish amount of money for playing a game. However, outside his motivation to succeed on the field, he is working to make sure his paycheck makes his hometown, country and the world a better place.