It’s always exciting to see successful young millennial couples starting philanthropic foundations and putting their career wins to use for charity. We’ve seen a lot of this lately with young professionals in the tech industry. But sports stars are also rising to the challenge of giving back to the communities that matter the most to them.
A case in point is Zach Ertz, tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Julie Ertz, the 2017 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Player of the Year. The couple’s new foundation launched in Pleasanton, California, in July, and in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field last month.
“This is something that we’ve talked about for years now, and it’s exciting to be making it happen together,” Julie Ertz said. “To be able to personally give people hope and the help they need has been life-changing for them and for me.”
“I wouldn’t be who I am today without the help I’ve received, and I want to help others reach their maximum potential,” said Zach Ertz. “From the moment I came into the NFL, I felt I had a responsibility to start a foundation, and to be able to do it with Julie by my side is truly a blessing.”
This brand-new foundation is just getting off the ground, but there are a few things that we know about it so far. Zach Ertz was inspired to launch the foundation after a trip to Haiti with his Eagles teammates, where he witnessed people who had few material items. After returning home, he and his wife moved forward with the launch based upon three pillars of service: youth sports, education and family.
In this early stage, the foundation has been raising money to support its first grantmaking endeavors, including a Northern California gala this past summer that raised more than $200,000. More recently, to celebrate National Philanthropy Day (November 15), the funder partnered with a student-first learning platform and publicly held company called Chegg to launch a charitable campaign that will benefit the foundation. Chegg has been one of the foundation’s largest donors so far, committing to give $860 for every first down that Zach Ertz completes and $1,086 for every touchdown he makes up to a maximum total of $86,000. If you hadn’t guessed, Zach’s jersey number is 86. To date, Zach Ertz has earned $41,550 for the Ertz Family Foundation from Chegg.
Zach Ertz said:
I have the privilege—and I believe a duty and calling—as a professional athlete to use my public platform to do good for others and create a path forward in education for those in need. We are excited to be working with Chegg to provide educational opportunities for youth and raise public awareness for the need of greater educational support for students.
At least in the beginning, the foundation will be focusing its giving efforts on the city of Philadelphia, the Bay Area and Haiti. These are the places to which the couple feels the deepest personal connections, so it makes sense to give back to those local communities. However, Zach and Julie Ertz plan to expand their giving to other parts of the U.S. and internationally in the future. Stay tuned to learn about the Ertz couple’s early rounds of grantmaking and where this young couple will focus their philanthropic priorities the most.