In Honor of MLK: Random Acts of Kindness

Show Me The Charity: Every day we’re taught that to give is better than  to receive and to treat others how we wish to be treated. During a new year, this message is especially true. To that end, athletes and sports organizations have long stepped up to the plate and been involved in some great charitable work. From relief efforts for victims of the tornados and drought-fueled wildfires in the Southwest, Hurricane Irene flooding and the 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan to raising money for healthcare, medical research and at-risk youth, companies and individuals involved in the action sports industry, professional leagues  and Olympic sports have been at the forefront.

Boarding For Breast Cancer
Now entering its tenth year, Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC) has been steadfast in its dedication to raising awareness about breast cancer among young women. Its Educational Outreach Program places a B4BC booth at twenty to 30 action-sports and music events a year, allowing face-to-face interaction with some 500,000 women each year.

Tony Hawk Foundation 
In the past five years, the Tony Hawk foundation has awarded more than one-million dollars to more than 270 public skatepark projects across the United States.

SurfAid 
With help and support from the global surfing community, SurfAid is a non-profit organization founded in January 2000 by Dr. Dave Jenkins to significantly improve the health and well-being of the Mentawai people. SurfAid’s success in the Mentawai Islands has made it the surfing industry’s humanitarian charity of choice and is providing a foundation for future expansion to other remote surfing locations throughout the world. The organization provides much-needed medical aid, supplies, and training for malaria prevention and disaster relief to Mentawai villages.  Current partners include  Quiksilver, Billabong, Fuel TV, Analog, Hurley, and Vans. The results are clear: “SurfAid has achieved a 75-percent reduction in malaria-related deaths and illnesses in two Mentawai villages,” says Surf Aid. “In partnership with the Mentawai Health Department, SurfAid has also  trained over 300 health-care workers and delivered over 20,000 immunizations.”

Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 80 chapters worldwide.

Down For The Cause Charitable foundations created by athletes range from Andre Agassi’s’s efforts to improve public education in the United States, to Mia Hamm’s Foundation to raise awareness for bone marrow transplants. What makes these athletes special is a commitment to give back to their communities that predates their celebrity. More often than not, what these athletes give is their time. And they are assisting their communities, usually their hometowns, because they want to, not because someone else thought that they should in order to help their image. Some examples of athletes doing charitable or philanthropic work:

The Mia Hamm Foundation is a non-profit, national organization dedicated to raising funds and awarenessfor bone marrow transplant patients and their families. It also encourages the development of more opportunities for young women to participate in sport.

Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation was established with one purpose in mind: to support organizations that have a positive influence on children.

Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Academy Zina Garrison, a 1994 winner who grew up playing on public courts, is dedicated to teaching life skills, promoting community service, providing positive role models, strengthening the educational opportunities and developing the tennis skills of Houston’s diverse youth population.

The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education works to change public education in the U.S. through its Charter School in Las Vegas and by introducing state legislation and supporting national policies to improve public education.

The Serena Williams Foundation provides assistance to youth whose families have been affected by violent crime and to youth around the world in receiving the highest possible education available t them.

The Steve Nash Foundation helps underserved children in their health, personal development, education and enjoyment of life. It serves children in British Columbia, Arizona, and the countries of Canada, the U.S., Paraguay and Uganda.

You and/or your team can support an existing foundation or organization or come up with your own special way of giving back to your community. Local Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Sisters, and Sports Buddies are all great ways to help the youth in your area with the donation of nothing more than your time. When you get in the spirit of giving the gift of your time, everyone wins.

Happy Holidays!

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