Sunday Spotlight… Philly, Football, & Philanthropy.

Today is a day that sports fans like myself wait for all year, Super Bowl Sunday. If you’re lucky enough to have your team playing in the big game, congratulations and good luck! Unfortunately, if like myself you are a Philadelphia Eagles fan, the big game eludes you once again this year.

With it being Super Bowl Sunday, our intent was to focus the spotlight on something related to Super Bowl 50. We thought perhaps a great place to go to catch the big game. We like to keep our Sunday Spotlight local when we can, to focus on all that our area has to offer, and so that our readers, who are largely (thought not entirely) from the Philadelphia metropolitan area, can actually enjoy what we recommend.

Last night, the night before the Super Bowl, as it has done the previous 4 years, the NFL held its annual NFL Honors ceremony. During this live event the NFL awards its top players and plays, reveals the upcoming Hall of Fame inductees, and gives out the Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year Award. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970. It was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community. Last night the recipient of the award was San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, Anquan Boldin.

Anquan Boldin’s foundation offers numerous programs, such as youth and after school programs, Thanksgiving dinners, holiday shopping sprees, provides back to school items for students in need, and awards scholarships to high school seniors with financial need through the “Q81” Foundation Scholarship Fund. Upon receiving the award, Boldin talked about his purpose- not of playing football, but of helping as many people as possible. He has previously talked about using his position to shine a spotlight on his philanthropic efforts, not for awards or accolades, but to bring awareness and encourage others to do the same.

Perhaps an unlikely pairing to some, football and philanthropy actually go hand in hand in many cases. And so I thought that today for our spotlight, we would point you in the direction of a local philanthropic effort taking place right now.

It started with a friend of a friend and a Facebook post. That’s how I found out about a crowd sourcing campaign set up by Jason Pinardo. The plan? No big deal- just raise $20,000 in 20 days to create a pop-up restaurant to provide an elegant dinner for 150 homeless Philadelphians. A couple of clicks, a small donation, and an email exchange later, and I was sold. And apparently so was everyone else. In 5 days Jason had met and surpassed his $20,000 goal, and the story of his campaign was picked up by CBS3, NBC10,, and Philadelphia Magazine among others. Despite the fact that the particulars still have to be worked out, the when, the where, and the who, to name a few, it’s safe to say that the idea is definitely a success.

Despite the overwhelmingly favorable response, nothing public ever comes without some form of opposition. In this case from a few who would suggest that the funds raised be spread out in a more practical way to benefit more people in need. It can’t be denied that the money could be dispersed in a more economical way, thereby feeder a larger number of people, for a longer period of time. Still, the idea of giving 150 homeless Philadelphians an evening that many of them may have not had the opportunity to experience in a very long time, if ever, resonates in a positive way with most people. In addition to providing the attendees an evening of dinner and entertainment, the plan is also to provide them with warm coats, toiletries, and perhaps most importantly dignity and hope.

To see the financial breakdown of the event, to hear from the planner himself, or to make a donation or offer your time and/or services, you can go directly to the Go Fund Me page for this event. At present, the event which has been up for 6 days, has totaled just over $22,000.

So, whoever you are rooting for in the big game today, take a moment to root for a good cause as well.



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