Houston Texans safety and New Orleans native Tyrann Mathieu has overcome more tragedies at 26 years old than many face in their entire lives. From his mother abandoning him when he was an infant to losing everything in Hurricane Katrina, Mathieu has seen it all. Although he’s found a way to rise above his circumstances to become a successful NFL player, he knows his reality lies in stark contrast to the fate of most of those born into poverty.
Believing that no child should be forced to give up his or her dreams due to financial instability, Mathieu founded the Tyrann Mathieu Foundation in 2017. With a mission to create an “impact in the lives of financially disadvantaged children and youth through encouragement, opportunities and resources to achieve their dreams,” Mathieu’s efforts are already gaining recognition just one year later.
In October, the NFL Foundation awarded the Tyrann Mathieu Foundation with a $5,000 Social Justice Grant to support the organization’s work. In addition, the NFL Players Association named Mathieu its Week 0 Community MVP this past September. While he earned the NFLPA award specifically for his efforts to deliver 500 backpacks filled with school supplies to students from Boys & Girls Clubs in Houston and New Orleans, Mathieu’s philanthropic endeavors are extensive.
Although Mathieu relocated to Texas after parting ways with the Arizona Cardinals and signing with the Texans this past March, he is still active in his former community. In September, the Pro Bowler opened the first Tyrann’s Tech Zone in Phoenix, providing state-of-the-art technology for underserved children, including photography and audio equipment as well as musical instruments. The Tyrann’s Tech Zone program aims to promote STEM-based learning, research and exploration of personal and career interests in music, arts, academics and more.
Mathieu and his foundation also provided Thanksgiving meals for 320 low-income families in Houston in November, in addition to hosting a celebrity kickball fundraiser in New Orleans this past March. At the fundraiser, NFL players, celebrities and Mathieu’s former LSU teammates joined him to play kickball for a good cause, followed by a free football camp the next day for 400 local boys and girls. And the list goes on.
While it would be impossible to do justice here to Mathieu’s charitable deeds and incredible story of overcoming the odds, he is undoubtedly an inspiration. Considering Mathieu has accomplished so much through his foundation in just one year, we look forward to seeing all that’s to come in the new year!