Giving Thanks by Giving Back
When Thanksgiving rolls around, some of Cam Newton’s most memorable moments in Charlotte are off the field.
“The holidays have always been a special time for my family and to share that with the Charlotte community is an opportunity I look forward to every year” says Cam Newton who’s annual Thanksgiving Jam, sponsored by the Cam Newton Foundation, serves 900 children and their families in conjunction with Second Harvest Food Bank.
“It is a special event for us and the families,” says Kimberly Beal, Executive Director of the Cam Newton Foundation. “It’s an opportunity for us to use the power of the foundation to really provide a special evening for some of Charlotte’s most deserving families. The holidays are a big time for us.”
The Thanksgiving Jam is one of several events the foundation runs throughout the year, all benefiting Charlotte families and organizations. “We really do believe using the power of sports and celebrity to impact social change is important,” says Beal. The foundation’s calendar is proof of the work it’s doing in the Queen City.
Each December, Newton picks one day to surprise several Charlotte organizations with a donation meant to impact the community and schools. On Christmas Eve, the foundation will coordinate a special VIP experience for Levine Children’s Hospital families at the Panthers – Falcons game. Each summer, the foundation leads several football camps for local Charlotte student athletes. In June, the foundation hosts its annual charity weekend with the Kicking It with Cam Celebrity Kickball Tournament and Kids Rock Gala. Last year’s charity weekend raised nearly $1M dollars that went back to Charlotte organizations, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s obvious Beal keeps a busy calendar. (She’s the foundation’s only full-time employee). But, it’s that continuous focus that drives the foundation’s impact.
“I know people likely have a perception of an athlete’s foundation. That the work is just for publicity,” says Beal who normally shies away from promoting the foundation’s work. “But, I can tell you that we truly are working to make an impact in this community by using Cam’s visibility to connect pivotal funds to organizations that make a difference.”
Newton doesn’t lack for visibility. Indeed, the Charlotte media will clamor to cover his events this holiday, but it’s important to him that people know his foundation’s work is genuine.
“I really appreciate what the people of Charlotte have done for me. They support me and my teammates by coming to the game, buying jerseys, and cheering every weekend. I want my foundation to be an avenue to make an impact and give back to a community that has done so much for me.” – Cam Newton