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Players’ Philanthropy Fund: Interview With Matt Stover

Professional athletes are always looked up to as heroes for what they do in their respective sports, but it’s the athletes that use their influence for the greater good that inspires us. I looked around for some of these athletes who have taken their passion for sports, and combined with a passion for helping others, to start their own philanthropies and improve the quality of life for others.

The first athlete I was fortunate enough to be introduced to was former NFL player, and two time Super Bowl Champion, Matt Stover. Matt was a place kicker for 12 years in the NFL before retiring in 2008. Being around the game for so long made him realize that there needed to be a place where other current and former athletes could give back by starting their own philanthropies or donating money in a safe and secure environment. This led Matt to create the Player’s Philanthropy Fund (PPF).

I talked to Matt to see how his organization came about.

MattStoverPodium      In the Photo: Matt Stover Speaking at a PPF event.

Q. How did growing up in Dallas, Texas influence your professional career and where you are now?

My opportunity came about in Dallas because of soccer and football being so popular. I played Soccer until 8th grade but my motor skills with kicking translated to high school football very well. That allowed me to get an athletic scholarship to Louisana Tech and from there went on to play in the NFL. With the influence that I gained through my years of playing in the NFL, I’ve been able to create the Player’s Philanthropy Fund to help out current athletes and the charities that they provide donations for to improve the wellbeing of others.

Q. What influences went into creating the Player’s Philanthropy Fund and how does it work?

The fact that I had a deep knowledge of charitable giving. Having the platform given to me and being a player rep. You have a privilege and have the ability to make the world a better place. Use your platform and put it to work. Foundations didn’t understand setting up your own charities and legal issues, tax returns. What we do at PPF is a Donor-advised Fund – essentially the players’ funds are in a tax-free account and managed by an advisor who then will send a donation safely to the charity of an athlete’s choice whenever they would like. The players job is to raise or personally give the funds to the PPF who maximizes the philanthropic giving while protecting their finances and reputations.

Q. Describe a typical day for you and the PPF?

My job is to communicate our message of how we work with pro athletes, to market and get the message out and athletes, managers will come and simplify their charitable givings. TV, radio, and mainly social media are used to get the word out. I work with Brandon Warehime (Social Media and Marketing) and Eleanor Shriver Magee (Consultant) and it’s from there that we create the relationships with people so that they will come and utilize our platform.

MattStover-FeulUp       In the Photo: Fuel Up to Play

Q. Is there a big picture goal for Player’s Philanthropy Fund and if so what is it?

There absolutely is a big picture goal for the PPF. We want to be the first contact for all associations, leagues, and professional players when thinking about starting their own charitable fund or organization. It’s to use our influence to make the world a better place, improving the livelihood of professional athletes and the charities and philanthropies that are receiving the donations.

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Webb      In the Photo: Baltimore Ravens’ great Lardarius Webb signing autographs at his charity softball game.

Q. What is the most impactful thing you see from your organization in the community?

The most impactful thing would be the transparency that Players’ Philanthropy Fund provides. Athletes can choose any charity at any time to donate through our platform but it can only be 501C3 charities. This provides people on the outside looking in to know and trust that the proper funds are being sent to legit philanthropies. There’s been numerous instances where a player’s money has ended up in the pockets of the wrong people and not doing the world any good.

 

Stoverandkids        In the Photo: Matt Stover

Q. What are some commonalities between sports and philanthropies in your opinion?

I’d have to say trust. Building trust is the most important thing when it comes to relationships, whether that is on a team with other players or as a businessman, nothing happens without trust.

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