There are also some fantastic examples of how individuals, organisations or corporations have had a significant impact in their own chosen way.
Drogba raises the bar!
Chelsea’s much maligned striker, Didier Drogba has made a massive charitable statement in recent weeks. He launched the Didier Drogba Foundation two years ago and committed to building a hospital in his hometown of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. Now, having just been announced as the new face of Pepsi, Drogba has reportedly committed the entire £3 million sponsorship fee to the hospital project.
The fundraising could also get two further significant boosts in the near future. His first Foundation Charity Ball is a sell out at the Dorchester in December, and newspaper reports are suggesting that Chelsea (who control his image rights) are waiving any percentage claim they may have on his Pepsi sponsorship, and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich may even match Drogba’s generosity £ for £ !
Drogba may not be the most popular striker to have graced the Premier League, but such generosity of deed and spirit should be widely applauded and acknowledged by fans and peers alike.
In a good month for footballers announcing good deeds, Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United and England has gone a step further from his significant support for many existing charities and has established his own charitable project.
The Rio Ferdinand Live the Dream Foundation will be launched on the 16th December 2010 with a fundraising party. The Foundation will aim to provide education, training and employment opportunities for young people to fulfil their ambitions in the fields of sport, the arts and cultural activity.
Elsewhere on this site, we reported on Barcelona’s ground breaking decision to give up their lucrative shirt sponsorship rights, and create a highly visible partnership with Unicef. English Premier League side Aston Villa have followed suit, and partnered with the local Acorns Children’s Hospice.
When reporting the story in The Times, Richard Morrison was suitably impressed. “What Birmingham’s finest have done this season lifts them far above the petty tribal loyalties of football. They have put compassion before cash. In the mercenary world of professional sport, that is remarkable. In the Premier League, probably the most money obsessed sports conglomeration in world history – it is astonishing”
Bellamy invests £650,000 in own Foundation
Manchester City and Wales footballer Craig Bellamy has invested over half a million of his own money to establish the Craig Bellamy Foundation. The Foundation aims to establish a football academy in war torn Sierra Leone, hoping to use sport as a means of social cohesion, providing resources, coaching and competition for a country ranked by Unicef as having the worst child mortality figures in the world.
Britain’s greatest ever Olympian, Sir Steve Redgrave, retired from competitive rowing after his fifth Olympic Gold medal in Sydney 2000. He then made a public commitment to raise over £5m million over five years for children’s charities.
The Sir Steve Redgrave Trust was born, and through sheer hard work and commitment and a record breaking London Marathon fundraiser in 2006, Steve reached his target, and the Trust continues to make grants to valuable causes up and down the country.
Back in 2003, Niall Quinn the Republic of Ireland football international started a welcome trend. He chose to donate the entire proceeds of his testimonial from Sunderland to charity. He gathered support from a number of fellow professionals and supporters and donated over £1 million to a number of different children’s charities. Since his decision a number of others have followed suit including Gary Kelly (Leeds United) and Alan Shearer (Newcastle).
FC Barcelona had until 2006, resisted the commercial temptation to have a sponsor logo on their shirts. At a time where major European rivals such as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea were generating record breaking sums through shirt deals, and thus topping up sizeable transfer funds, Barcelona not only shunned commercial advances, but donated the shirt deal and committed financial resources to Unicef. All for Good will watch with interest to see just how involved the star players support the deal and how Unicef reports on the impact of such a bold move.
“Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest” Mark Twain