Champions for Philanthropy Shine at Most Valuable Philanthropist Super Bowl Awards

Our award for the most unique venue during Super Bowl week goes to the Champions of Philanthropy for hosting their Most Valuable Philanthropist event at The Estate in the Buckhead area of Atlanta.

With an anticipated crowd of over 120 people, the brunch reached an impressive level of elegance and managed a strong showing despite the early start time. You can see from our photos, how impressive the setting was and the array of special handcrafted artwork by Justyn Farano from Farano Fine Art added to the mix.  

As many events do, there was a significant amount of signed items for auction, including helmets by Tom Brady, Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw and Todd Gurley. Some unique experiences also showed up against the backdrop of the gorgeous home and we anticipate that the final tally will net an impressive sum for the various charities that were selected to be the beneficiaries of the event.

Started by Michelle Mays and Alycia Powell, graduates of the GW Sports Philanthropy program, Champions for Philanthropy has made an impressive impact in its short time.  

Based out of NYC, Champions for Philanthropy was able to execute a great event and selected four deserving nominees:

  • Josh Norman, Washington Redskins
  • Takeo Spikes, Former NFL Player
  • Darius Philon, San Diego Chargers
  • Rob Vaka, Signature PRO

Each of them took the opportunity to speak about why they selected their cause and how their efforts have impacted themselves and their communities.

The panel was moderated by David Meltzer, from Sports 1 Marketing who relayed his own harrowing tale of losing over $100 million dollars and having to tell his own mother that she would have to move out of her home.  Having recovered from that disaster, he now gives out scholarships each year so that people can attend college.

Each nominee spoke of the obstacles that they overcame. Darius Philon spoke about his passion for helping those with mental illness and was impressive in his description of the importance of how you carry yourself.  He said you are constantly being observed as a professional athlete, and you have to be aware that ONE mistake can make you a very different person. With everything in the spotlight in today’s social media age, he emphasized how many people are let down with that mistake.

Takeo Spikes relayed a lot of stories about his daughter. Though others joked about how difficult teenage girls can be, you could see the love and affection in Takeo’s descriptions.  Takeo also talked about his TKO Camp and the work that he does with kids, helping them turn dreams into reality. You could see his strong passion for that work.

Josh Norman said that he feels partnership is the key element.  He felt that he was struggling with his philanthropic efforts until he connected with the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs. He described them as a juggernaut.  He attributed their backing to powering the growth of his foundation. This raised an important point for many of thoe in attendance, which is that you do not need to do it all on your own.

Rob Vaka also mentioned the fact that many people make mistakes.  The key, Vaka said, is to make sure that you are not making the same mistakes, over and over.  You have to constantly be working on yourself. You have to be different. You have to live life from the framework of abundance. If you make giving a normal part of your life, you do not feel that you are “giving anything up.”  You appreciate the gift of having the ability to give.

As you can imagine, we love following the success of great organizations like Champions for Philanthropy and the worthy pursuits of this year’s nominees. Roy Kessel, founder of Sports Philanthropy Network said this was one of the best events of the entire Super Bowl week. We look forward to following the continued impact each of these athletes will make over the coming year.

Special Thanks to Matt Morrison from LW Branding for helping us cover this fantastic event.

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel

Roy Kessel is the Founder of the Sports Philanthropy Network. Roy has worked in the sports business world for over 20 years including serving as an instructor in Northwestern University's graduate Sports Management Program. Having served as a sports lawyer representing athletes, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, Roy has extensive experience helping organizations improve their strategy, marketing, communications and leadership development.
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