Giving Tuesday: Team Gleason, LeBron James Family Foundation, and 5 more worthy causes to support

We spend a lot of time at SB Nation analyzing the things that happen on the field, court, or pitch. But we don’t often focus on the good athletes are doing for their communities and the world at large.

It’s Giving Tuesday, which is described as a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.”

Philanthropy isn’t a new thing in the NFL world. In 2018, Vikings fans donated over $200k to then-Saints punter Thomas Morstead’s charity, What You Give Will Grow, in recognition of Morstead’s sportsmanship. Bills fans kicked off the trend in 2017 when an Andy Dalton pass to Tyler Boyd sealed a Bengals win over the Ravens that sent Buffalo back to the postseason for the first time in 17 years. Fans flooded Andy Dalton’s foundation with donations in the amount of $17, a nod to that long postseason hiatus.

Bengals fans donated to Blake Bortles’ foundation to thank him and the Jaguars for knocking Cincinnati’s AFC North rival, the Steelers, out of the playoffs. And Eagles fans donated to former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer’s foundation as an apology for the way the Vikings were treated on a trip to Philadelphia for the NFC Championship after the 2017 season.

Those are all great reasons to donate money to a rival player or coach’s foundation — but also, do we really need a reason, especially on Giving Tuesday? Below are details on the charitable endeavors of several athletes and how you can support those efforts today and every day.

Team Gleason

Who: Steve Gleason, former New Orleans Saints safety

What they do: Steve Gleason’s motto is “No White Flags,” and it’s one that he’s had to lean on during his lengthy battle with ALS. Team Gleason improves the quality of life for people battling this devastating disease through assistive technology, equipment, adventures and support services for patients and their families.

To donate: Click here, and check out Canal Street Chronicles’ fundraiser benefiting Team Gleason below.

Tackle ALS

Who: Former Falcons linebacker Tim Green

What they do: Green, in addition to being a dominant defender for the Falcons for eight years, has had multiple novels land on the New York Times’ bestseller list, and is an attorney, a broadcaster, a TV host, and a husband, dad and grandfather. He’s a Renaissance man who happens to have ALS, and he’s fighting it with everything he’s got while also helping to pave a gentler path for others living with the disease through Tackle ALS, increasing access to effective treatments and identifying effective therapies to improve the quality of life for ALS patients and eventually find a cure.

To donate: Click here, and check out The Falcoholic’s fundraiser benefiting Tackle ALS.

The LeBron James Family Foundation

Who: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

What they do: James’ foundation isn’t just supporting students in need with his I PROMISE school that’s created a new model for urban public education. They’re also supporting families by helping secure safe housing, providing financial literacy courses, and more.

To donate: Click here.

ReClif Center

Who: Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves 1B

What they do: Olson’s lifelong friend Reece Blankenship has autism and is non-verbal. When they were in high school, Olson became an applied behavior analysis therapist for Reece, but his help and support for the autism community didn’t stop there.

When Reece began to dream about opening a fitness-based therapy center in his hometown for others on the autism spectrum, Matt was the first to pledge a $5,000 donation to help start the company. ReClif opened its doors in 2017 with the mission to change the conversation surrounding autism by empowering, accepting, supporting and advocating for people on the spectrum.

In 2019, ReClif started a nonprofit arm, the ReClif Community, aiming to provide a chance for more typical life experiences for individuals living with autism and those that care for them. ReClif Community also intends to empower beneficiaries with cognitive-focused activities, social outreach, scholarships and societal inclusion. In January 2023, Matt and his wife, Nicole, hosted their inaugural Casino Night at Truist Park, raising more than $250,000 for ReClif Community to continue their work in the autism community. They plan to replicate this event in 2024.

To donate: Click here

15 and the Mahomies

Who: Patrick Mahomes

What they do: The organization is dedicated to improving the lives of children. The Foundation supports initiatives that focus on health, wellness, communities in need of resources and other charitable causes. Specific initiatives include Read for 15, to foster a love of reading in children, Volunteer for 15, encouraging children to make a pledge to volunteer for at least 15 hours in the summers, and the signature program, 15 for 15, supports 15 youth charitable initiatives that focus on academics, science, the arts, classroom supplies, athletics, children with disabilities, after-school programs and more.

To donate: Click here

Make-a-Wish

Who: John Cena

What they do: Make-a-Wish famously grants wishes to children living with critical illnesses, and superstar John Cena holds the world record for the most wishes granted with over 650. For every wish granted, there’s another critically ill child waiting for their wish to be fulfilled, and your donations can bring these children so much joy.

To donate: Click here

The Chasing M Foundation

Who: Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin

What they do: You’ve likely heard Hamlin’s name quite a bit over the past year after he suffered cardiac arrest on the field during a late-season game against the Bengals. Fans found an old GoFundMe Hamlin had set up to raise money to buy holiday gifts for children in need, and they donated relentlessly to show support for his recovery. Hamlin has turned his terrifying, life-threatening experience and recovery into making sure athletes at every level have access to the quality of life-saving care he received through CPR training and a push to make AEDs, like the one that revived him, widely available in schools. He’s also continuing the toy drive to bring holiday joy to children.

To donate: Click here

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