NFL Players Invited to Appreciation Party in Las Vegas, NV

For most NFL players, the question is not whether they want to give back to their communities, it is how. Many players face a tough decision between starting their own foundations or supporting a cause near and dear to their hearts.

If athletes choose to avoid the complications and time constraints affiliated with running a foundation—while still maximizing their community impact—“Teammates for Kids,” established by the Garth Brooks and Troy Aikman Foundation, is a worthy option.

For nearly 3,200 professional athletes, including NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL players, the easy answer involves donating to an organization that vows to triple funds contributed, with 100 percent of the money going to children’s charities.

Miami Dolphins Player Representative and long snapper John Denney reiterates that spelled-out commitment to bettering the lives of youth.

“Not only does 100 percent of the money go directly toward the kids with the costs and overhead covered on their end, but through Garth’s celebrity and business affiliates, they triple your donation,” Denney said. “You would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world where you can be as efficient as you can in donating your efforts towards a charity that helps kids like this.”

Teammates for Kids, according to Brooks, helps players focus on their skills while helping others. Being involved with the program allows players to play the game and help kids.

“To establish your own foundation, keep it up and running, have it drawing money and have it profitable, it is kind of difficult to do,” Denney said.

Denney, now in his fifth year of involvement, enjoys seeing the fruits of everyone’s labor at the “appreciation party.”

He said, “The satisfaction comes in seeing those affected by your donation. We get to see the people who get to partake in programs and we see the results of zones that were created and established at the hospitals and events that ‘Teammates for Kids’ gives their efforts to. You get to see the happiness it brings to them, the changes in their lives and the lives of their families as they go through the hard times that they face.”

For players contemplating starting a foundation, Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz has some advice.

“My philosophy is that if you have your name on it, then you better know what’s going on,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s family or friends. We have a lot of guys that … want to start a foundation and have [their] family run it. It may just be me, but I am uncomfortable with it.”

As a board member, the Bengals great has a unique perspective on his ability to help change the world.

“I have been involved for about seven years and there is nothing like it,” Muñoz said. “I have been around and seen a lot of foundations, but they give 100 percent to the charity and not just some of the time, but all of the time.”

Twice a year, athletes and donors are treated to a very unique experience culminating with something a special event: a private concert featuring the country music icon Brooks, the man in charge of it all.

“This is an opportunity for the athletes and donors to see the great work that we are able to do through ‘Teammates for Kids’ with their help.” Brooks said. “These athletes, combined with our corporate partners, other foundations and some very special individuals, have helped us generate and distribute more than $83 million in cash, gifts-in-kind and scholarships.”

New York Giants tight end Bear Pascoe got involved because of the Child Life Zones. “My involvement started with ‘Teammates for Kids’ to impact the lives of kids all over the country through the Child Life Zone’s, which are state-of-the-art, therapeutic and educational zones created in hospitals for kids and families that are experiencing difficult times in their lives,” he said.

Last year, more than 280 NFL players pledged to be “Teammates for Kids” of the Garth Brooks and Troy Aikman Foundation.

For more information on this and other player-related charity information, email your request to ONETEAM@nflplayers.com.