The Pittsburgh Foundation, a local nonprofit that organizes charitable funds from individual donors, has enlisted the help of two Steelers stars. Former Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward and Perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Troy Polamalu have agreed to help out the Pittsburgh Foundation by adding funds and setting up individual charities.
Ward, the newest Pittsburgh philanthropist, is donating money rather than setting up his own foundation. He hopes his money can be used to help with children’s programs.
Troy has set up his fund with his wife Theodora to help injured service men and women in Iraq. Its named after Theodora’s grandfather, Harry Panos, a WWII vet. After Troy visited Iraq last summer, he felt he needed to help. His fund will directly help injured soldiers in Iraq.
Hines and Troy join Max Starks as the 3 current Steelers who provide humanitarian outreach through the Pittsburgh Foundation. Other Pittsburgh/former Pittsburgh stars that give as well include former Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood; Women’s National Basketball Association star Swin Cash; Pittsburgh Xplosion general manager Freddie Lewis; Katie Leyland, wife of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland; and Curtis Randle El, financial adviser for investment firm Hefren-Tillotson and brother of former Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.
Starks put his (and Hines’s and Troy’s) work into context by saying:
“A lot of people recognize athletes, so we can bring more attention to different causes,” said Mr. Starks, who created his fund in 2005 focusing on childhood literacy and education. “We want to be recognized as athletes, but also as humanitarians. … I really enjoy it, making a difference in at least one person’s life.”
Well played, Max, Hines and Troy.