This past spring when Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz returned home from Haiti after a trip with Mission of Hope, he eagerly recounted his experience to his wife, Julie, midfielder for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and the Chicago Red Stars. He shared the powerful joy and togetherness he felt in the impoverished communities where he had volunteered with fellow teammates to help build a youth sports complex.
Deeply inspired by the trip, Zach and Julie decided to establish a foundation to support people in need in Haiti and the U.S., with a focus on youth sports, education and family. “We really want to give back, especially because we’ve had so many people who have been good to us,” Julie stated.
Just a few months later, Zach and Julie kicked off the Ertz Family Foundation with a gala in Northern California where they raised more than $200,000, a portion of which they have already donated to charitable organizations, including Mission of Hope Haiti, College Is Real, and Kensington High School in Philadelphia.
The 2017 Pro Bowler earned the Week 5 NFLPA Community MVP this past October for his philanthropic efforts. Additionally, NFLPA granted $10,000 to the foundation. "I am beyond honored to have been named the NFLPA Week 5 Community MVP," Ertz stated. "My wife Julie and I are driven to make a positive and enduring change in our beloved city of Philadelphia, in California, in Haiti, and around the world."
The foundation also established Catches for the Community, a fundraising initiative that allows fans to make a pledge for every catch Ertz makes this season to support of the foundation’s work to build healthier communities, with Zach and Julie personally committed to donating $100 for each catch.
In addition, the Ertz Family Foundation partnered with Bringing Hope Home and ACME last week to provide Thanksgiving meals to families in Philadelphia affected by cancer. The foundation’s next initiative is their City of Love Event and Auction Fundraiser at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles, on November 29.