On January 31 as Super Bowl LIII gets set to kick off in Atlanta, Champions for Philanthropy will host its first annual Most Valuable Philanthropist Super Bowl Awards Brunch in partnership with LW Branding. The event aims to celebrate high-impact philanthropic efforts of professional athletes that rarely make the highlight reel and to inspire others to follow their lead.
Here is a brief look at each of the athlete honorees and their efforts to make a significant difference in the Atlanta region and beyond. The event will also honor local community champion and professional athlete mentor Rob Vaka of SignatureFD.
Through his Starz24 Foundation, Josh Norman helps provide enrichment programs and events for underserved youth in his NFL team cities, including Charlotte where he spent four seasons with the Panthers, and now Washington D.C. His foundation is active in other communities close to his heart too, including Atlanta and his hometown of Greenwood, South Carolina.
Also a member of the Players Coalition, Norman has donated millions of dollars over the past few years to youth causes, such as children separated from their parents at the Mexico border and Boys & Girls Clubs around the country, including Puerto Rico. Additionally, he recently donated $1.5 million to Coastal Carolina University, his alma mater, to support a number of scholarships and programs, including athletics, communications and theater.
Concluding his 15-year NFL career in 2013, retired linebacker Takeo Spikes continues to pursue his passions outside of playing football. In addition to providing football analysis for several media outlets, Spikes released his coffee table book, “Behind the Mask,” in 2017. The book features fellow NFL linebacker legends photographed by Spikes himself.
Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Spikes also devotes much of his time to charitable endeavors in his Atlanta community. From supporting literacy initiatives at local Boys & Girls Clubs to assembling care packages for soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, Spikes’ heart is even bigger than his famously Herculean neck. Like Norman, Spikes is an advocate for Player Coalition initiatives as well, even handing out pizza to voters waiting in line during the 2018 midterm elections.
Fourth-year NFL defensive tackle out of the University of Arkansas, Darius Philon is coming off a thrilling playoff run with the Los Angeles Chargers. A “Rising Star” of the MVP Super Bowl Awards Brunch, Philon is building a legacy off the field too. Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Philon has managed to give back to his hometown throughout his NFL career despite the 2,000 mile distance, all while becoming a leader in the Los Angeles community as well.
This past December, Philon held his second annual holiday gift-giving party where he donated 150 tablets to Alabama youth. He also serves as a mentor at youth football camps in Los Angeles, speaking with attendees and leading them in drills. In addition, Philon is a mental health advocate. For the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign this past season, Philon dedicated his cleats to mental health awareness.
Additional details and event tickets for the 2019 Most Valuable Philanthropist Super Bowl Awards Brunch are available at mostvaluablephilanthropist.com