Michael Bennett Pledges Endorsement Money to Rebuild Nonwhite Communities, Urges Other Athletes to Do the Same

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Michael Bennett encouraged professional athletes to use their platforms for change during the 2016 NFL season. (Jeffrey Beall).

Inspired by Chance the Rapper, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett plans to donate all earnings from his 2017 endorsements to charities supporting nonwhite communities.

The Super Bowl XLVIII champion issued a statement on Instagram Thursday, March 9, saying he is going to use a portion of his income to help causes that support childhood education.

“I was inspired by Chance the Rapper to ‘think bigger’ when he pledged $1 million to Chicago kids and their school system,” Bennett said in a statement. “So, I’ll be joining him by investing in the future of our youth. The system is failing our kids, and it will be up to the community and our leaders to help keep the hope alive by focusing on improving our education system and the future of our kids. Any company that decides to invest in me, just know that you’ll be investing in opportunities and providing inspiration for these families, many who feel unnoticed or go unmentioned.”

"I was inspired by Chance The Rapper to ‘think bigger’ when he pledged one million dollars to Chicago kids and their school system. So, I’ll be joining him by investing in the future of our youth. The system is failing our kids, and it will be up to the community and our leaders to help keep the hope alive by focusing on improving our education system and the future of our kids. Any company that decides to invest in me, just know that you’ll be investing in opportunities and providing inspiration for these families- many who feel unnoticed or go unmentioned. I have decided to donate all of my endorsement money in 2017 to help rebuild minority communities through s.t.e.a.m programs, as well as initiatives that directly affect women of color in hopes that we can create more opportunities for our youth and build a brighter future. In addition, 50% of the proceeds from my jersey sales this year will go to programs and initiatives to support inner-city garden projects, as it’s not only about providing opportunities in education and arts, but to help provide the right nutrition and access to healthy living to all. I’m asking all professional athletes to join me by donating a portion of your endorsements this year to a cause of your choice. We can make a difference. It’s up to us to help plant seeds of hope and help fuel the future. Power to the People, Michael Bennett”

A post shared by Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) on

Bennett added his endorsements money will be used to fund STEAM initiatives “to help rebuild minority communities” and serve nonwhite women to generate more opportunities for youth.

“In addition, 50 percent of the proceeds from my jersey sales this year will go to programs and initiatives to support inner-city garden projects, as it’s not only about providing opportunities in education and arts but to help provide the right nutrition and access to healthy living to all,” Bennett’s statement read.

Like Chance did by calling on Chicago businesses to support his efforts, Bennett is urging other athletes to donate a portion of their endorsements for the year to worthy causes.

“We can make a difference,” Bennett said. “It’s up to us to help plant seeds of hope and help fuel the future.”

On Instagram, several people applauded the effort.

The athlete’s philanthropy is not new as he regularly works with The Bennett Foundation, founded by himself and his wife, Pele, in 2014, which strives to fight obesity through education and nutrition initiatives.

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