Rich Eisen’s Lack of Speed Helps Raise Money for St. Jude’s

Rich Eisen preparing for his 2019 dash

When Rich Eisen first started his 40-yard dash in 2005, it is doubtful that he imagined its growth and the immense following it has developed over those years.

Rich’s first 40-yard time was 6.77 and now after all these years of training, he is still only sneaking under the 6 second mark. To be fair, he is still running in a suit but now he has these snazzy cleats, customized to St. Jude’s.

I think it would be interesting to see how Rich would do if he dedicated himself to an 8-week period of training just like the players do after they finish their bowl games.  For a reality check though, we should also note that it is unlikely Rich is in the same kind of physical condition as these young guys.

But from a sports philanthropy perspective, the most impressive part of this stunt is not the speed (or lack thereof) exhibited by Eisen, it is the amount of money that he has raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Reports now show that he has raised over $1 million in total donations since he first got sponsors involved in 2015, though we have not yet seen a year-by-year breakdown. 

What we do have, is the graphic of Eisen’s times as reported by the NFL Network.

Not listed on the graphic were the last two times, a 5.97 in 2018 and 6.00 in 2019.  We have to question whether Jay Glazer will actually continue to allow Rich to be a client given that declining performance.

On this year’s NFL Network coverage, Rich continually highlighted the various donations made by certain coaches and other NFL personnel, even when they had specifically asked not to have special coverage.  It brings up an interesting phenomenon, mainly, why these elite coaches that could serve as role models are so reluctant to be cast into that role.  As with most fundraising organizations, one of the most effective fundraising techniques is to use the leverage of “peers” to demonstrate or benchmark the most appropriate level of giving.

It has been an amazing 10-year RUN (pun intended).  It is this type of creative effort that develops organically which is usually the most effective.  If you look back over the last few years, some of the biggest viral campaigns have developed organically.  The first was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which led over 17 million people to upload their videos, with over 440 million people watching these videos over 10 billion times.  The other one was JJ Watt’s incredible campaign to raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey which devasted the Houston area which ultimately raised $41.6 million, making it the largest crowdsourced fundraiser in history.

Maybe Rich’s campaign doesn’t quite reach that magnitude, but it still has great reach and plenty of room to continue its expansion.

We encourage you to support the initiative.

To donate to St. Jude through Rich Eisen’s run go to

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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