Kevan Barlow is known to many as a giant of the National Football League. It isn’t a bit hard to understand why he’s such an enduringly popular player. He’s consistently played hard and played well, for the entirety of his career. Even if his team isn’t your team, there’s no denying that the man is a great athlete.
But of course, some know the man for an entirely different passion. Specifically, some know him for his philanthropy. Maybe it’s his work with kids’ cancer charities. Or possibly from his non-profit work of another sort. His giving, however, is as undeniably consistent as his athleticism.
Sure—he’s not the only pro athlete to become a philanthropist. In this day and age, that’s basically part of the gig. You don’t get to become a celebrity without giving back. When living life in the public eye, acts of charity and compassion are basically mandatory.
But with Kevan Barlow, philanthropy is not a matter of duty. It’s a matter of passion. Read on to learn more about who he is, what he does, and how you can join his efforts!
An Athlete in Profile
Before we delve into his charitable giving, let’s give just a moment to his athletic career. If you follow the NFL, you surely know all of these facts and figures. If not, listen up to what a tremendous football player the man really is.
Here are a few of his NFL highlights, up to the present day:
- In 2004, he signed a five-year contract to play with San Francisco. As a 49er, he came to see California as his home. His involvement in the Bay Area community remains very consistent, and very significant.
- In 2003, he posted 1,024 yards rushing, as well as 307 receiving yards. What’s more impressive is the fact that he did this with relatively little time on the field. In fact, he started in just four games that year.
- During his first two years as an NFL pro, the man generated 1,187 yards rushing on 270 carries.
- He was picked in the third round of the 2001 draft. In total, he was pick #80.
Those are just some of the impressive figures from Barlow’s pro football career. Now, let’s look at his other great passion. Let’s consider some of the ways in which he generously gives of his time and his money—plus, his celebrity!
Reaching Out, Giving Back
We could basically boil down his non-profit and philanthropy work into three categories. Naturally, there is plenty that we might say about each activity. Here they are in a nutshell, however.
- First, there is prison outreach. The athlete believes in inspiring folks who end up in prison. In essence, he’s encouraging them not to give up—and not to ever go back in, once they’re out! He has frequently participated in San Quentin prison visitations.
- He is a big believer in helping kids with cancer. He’s given of his time and resources to various cancer charities in California. These organizations don’t just help sick kids, but also their families.
- Finally, Kevan Barlow believes in the YMCA. He believes that it’s an important beacon within our communities. He has long supported the summer day camp programming offered by local YMCA branches.
How You Can Get Involved
Maybe some of these charitable activities strike your fancy. Maybe they seem like something you’d like to take part in. Then again, maybe there are other causes that you care about. There are certainly plenty of good ones out there. The important thing is just to get involved.
That is, admittedly, easier said than done. With that in mind, there are a few steps you can take to pick a great charity. Follow these tips, and make sure you’re giving wisely!
Narrowing the Selection
The first step is simply thinking of a cause that you’re passionate about. It’s important to make it something about which you feel strongly. Giving is hard—passion goes a long way toward helping you stick with it!
The next thing to do is to pick the charity you wish to support. Consider whether you want to support a national group, or local branch. Local branches tend to prove the best bets. Your money is much more likely to go directly to the non-profit work that needs doing.
Kevan Barlow: Giving Wisely
Next, it’s important to make sure your money is actually going to the cause in question. Of course, some of it will go to the charity’s overhead, or perhaps their marketing. You don’t want the whole sum to go to those things, though—or even most of it.
Find out what percentage of its resources the given charity puts toward the actual work. This information is typically located on their financial statements. You should find it easy to find these on their website.
If that’s not the case, call the organization and simply ask them. They’ll likely prove happy to answer. If they don’t, then look for another organization to support. There’s no reason why any reputable non-profit would prove hesitant to answer some honest questions!
Not Just Money
By now, some readers are surely protesting. Giving of one’s money is all fine and good if you’re pulling an NFL salary. But not everyone has that kind of money to donate to charities. What is a non-pro athlete to do?
The short answer is to consider giving your time. That’s actually how Kevan makes a lot of his donations. Consider the time he spends ministering to prison inmates. Consider the time he spends helping raise awareness and support for the YMCA.
The bottom line is that all of us can do something to get involved and to give back—and Kevan Barlow is leading the way. Sure, Kevan Barlow may seem, at first, like just another celebrity philanthropist. The truth is, though, this man is motivated by passion in everything he does. Follow Barlow’s lead—find something to get passionate about, and start giving back!