Former players from three of college football's legendary rivals - Florida, Florida State and Miami have partnered with established community organizations and their individual foundations to create opportunities for underprivileged children through academic and recreational grants. They are: Warrick Dunn (FSU), Kevin Everett (UM), Willis McGahee (UM), Myron L. Rolle (FSU), Samari Rolle (FSU) and Ed Reed (UM). Together they form the Make a Play Foundation. The organization's goal is to use a collective voice to help promote growth and change for children and families in their hometowns.
The players are participating in a challenge, ‘Trash Talk for Charity,’ that will raise funds for their foundations and initiatives. To participate, fans choose one of their university's favorite players to support and a rival player to ‘talk trash' to. With each dollar donated, fans can add one point to their favorite players' total and deduct one point from a rival players' total. The player who has the most points at the end of the week will be crowned the champion, winning the battle between the charities. About each player:
Warrick Dunn: Donations will benefit his foundation's "Home for the Holidays" program, which provides down payment assistance and complete home furnishings to single-parent families in Tampa, Tallahassee, Atlanta and Baton Rouge, LA. www.warrickdunnfoundation.org
Kevin Everett: The Kevin Everett Fund provides financial assistance to those who have been affected by spinal cord injuries and traumas. In 2007, Everett suffered an injury to his spinal cord, which doctors predicted a less than 10% chance for a full recovery. One month later, Everett took his first steps and that December, was able to walk for the first time. The foundation raises funds to bring about education and awareness of spinal cord injuries and provides financial assistance to those who have been affected by these traumas.
Willis McGahee: The Willis McGahee Foundation was established to help underprivileged children in the Baltimore and Miami areas by providing them with the tools, resources and encouragement they need to become self sufficient. The Foundation provides toys during the holidays, Thanksgiving meals, schools supplies, books, educational materials, and dental supplies to children in need and their families.
Myron L. Rolle: Established in 2009, the Myron L. Rolle Foundation is dedicated to the support of health, wellness, education, and other charitable initiatives. The Foundation supports the FSU College of Medicine Scholarship program, and funds the "Our Way to Health" Program, the Myron Rolle Wellness and Leadership Academy, Myron's Health Clinic in the Bahamas (Exuma) and provides academic scholarships for top student-athletes from his hometown and from the Bahamas.
Samari Rolle: After being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2007, Samari along with his Rolle with Me Foundation has partnered with the Epilepsy Foundation to bring awareness to the disorder. He was selected as the Ravens' 2007 Ed Block Courage Award winner by his teammates and named a finalist for The Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP in 2008. The foundation annually organizes free youth football camps, Thanksgiving food drives, holiday parties for Baltimore youth, a summer reading program, and has provided equipment for youth athletic leagues, and book bags and school supplies for underprivileged children.
Ed Reed: Reed's foundation has supported a majority of projects in Baltimore and his hometown of Destrehan, Louisiana by providing school supplies, college scholarships, athletic equipment and holiday gifts for children in both areas. He has also organized a Children's Fitness Day and Thanksgiving turkey drives.
The 'Rivals Challenge: Trash Talk for Charity' began on Saturday, August 29th and will run through Monday, September 7th at midnight. Fans can donate online through the Make a Play Foundation's official website at: http://www.makeaplayfoundation.org/ or by calling 352-514-2681.