If you are like most people, you will recognize Dikembe Mutombo from his incredible shot blocks and the hilarious finger wag. Off the court, Mutombo’s infamous “No, no, no” becomes “Yes, yes, yes” in terms of charity. Mutombo came to the NBA from the Democratic Republic of Congo with the goal of returning with help. The giant Center played all over the NBA, impressing the country as he led the league in blocks year after year. Ending his career in 2008, he has the second most blocks in the NBA.
In 1997, he founded the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve the community in the DRC. The foundation works to help spread awareness about health through an emphasis on primary care and disease prevention. This foundation still succeeds through this day, saving the lives of hundreds of thousands in the war-torn area. Mutombo shocked the world in 2001 when he donated $15 million to build a hospital in his hometown. This hospital is the first modern medical facility in 50 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mutomobo still uses his image all around the world playing basketball and teaching the importance of giving back to those in a time of need.
“When you take the elevator to the top, please don’t forget to send it down, so that someone else can take it to the top.”
Considered to be the greatest golfer of our time, Mr. Woods has donated a tremendous amount of time and charity around the world. Known for bringing golf back into the spotlight right after his time at Stanford, Woods decided to thank the community which helped him succeed.
In 1996, Tiger and his father Earl created the Tiger Woods Foundation. Through grants and donations, this foundation creates community-based programs that improve the health, education, and welfare of all children in the US. With facilities all around the country, kids are learning that their minds and bodies must be in top shape to succeed (with some putt putt here and there).
Through an incredible $50 million donation by Tiger, the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, CA provides college programs for undeserved youth. The TWLC opened in 2006 and features several classrooms, extensive multimedia research and an outdoor golfing area.
To cap off the greatest single donation in the history of sports figures, Mr. Woods donated $10 million in 2007 to set up the Earl D. Woods Scholarship fund.
With a nickname like “The Las Vegas Kid,” you can see that Andre Agassi acted out a bit on and off the court in his earlier days. Becoming one of the most successful tennis players in its history, Agassi matured to help those children who have not seen their ability yet. Described by the BBC as “the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history,” Agassi used this #1 ranked career to give back to his city.
In 2001, Agassi opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. This tuition free charter school for at-risk children has a 100% graduation rate and expects a 100% college acceptance rate every year. Also, he created the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, which has raised over $60 million to help at-risk kids in his city.
The foundation has raised money to build schools, hospitals, and in 2001, the Andre Agassi Cottage for Medically Fragile Children. Gold medals, #1 rankings, and being one of four players to achieve the career grand slam meant nothing to Agassi unless he could use his image to help the future.