Giving back. It is a simple concept, but one not grasped often enough. One person who fully understands what it means to give back, however is Jason Taylor, Miami Dolphins All-Pro and 2007 NFL Man of the Year. From his humble beginnings as a Pittsburgh youth serving as a missionary, to his endless hours of community involvement as an NFL superstar, Jason Taylor has always given something of himself to those less fortunate.
In July 2004, Jason’s philanthropy inspired him and his wife, Katina, to establish the Jason Taylor Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization. The Foundation’s mission is to support and create programs that facilitate the personal growth and empowerment of South Florida’s children in need by focusing on improved health care, education and quality of life.
The Jason Taylor Foundation has made long strides in a short period of time, contributing more than $1,300,000 to more than 40 different organizations dedicated to helping children since opening its doors. The Holtz Children’s Hospital has officially renamed its recreational and educational facility “The Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center,” 29 middle school students have been awarded college scholarships as a result of the Foundation’s work with Take Stock in Children, hundreds of student-athletes have been treated to inspirational films as part of the “Big Screens-Big Dreams” program and each September, at least 50-60 deserving children are each given a $300 back-to-school shopping opportunity at Old Navy as part of the “Cool Gear for the School Year” program.
In 2007, the Jason Taylor Foundation expanded its impact with the introduction of three new important programs that are currently thriving, some entering their third year. Over the past three years, more than 300 youth athletes received “scholarships” to participate in the Jason Taylor Football Camp, receiving nine hours of expert instruction on the fundamentals of football. Each August, Katina Taylor hosts “Camp Katina – Cartwheels to Character,” a three-day gymnastics, cheerleading and life skills program for 50 underserved girls and in September of 2009, in conjunction with the upcoming school year, classes began again for year three of the Jason Taylor Reading Room, a multi-faceted, after-school program designed to address the problem of illiteracy among inner-city youth.
With Jason and Katina’s undying commitment and the continued support of community members and civic leaders alike, the Jason Taylor Foundation will work tirelessly to achieve its goal of building a better future for the youth of South Florida.