Athletes Who Care

J.J. Watt

SI's 2017 Sportsperson of the Year founded the Justin J. Watt Foundation, a charity that provides after-school opportunities for children in different communities and aims to get them involved in athletics in a safe environment. With the Texans, Watt has frequently invited disabled and underprivileged children to games and practices. And on Aug. 26 of this year, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year launched a fund on YouCaring.com to raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey with an initial goal of $200,000. Watt closed the fundraiser after raising an astonishing $37,097,298, which is more than 185 times his initial goal.

Colin Kaepernick

The recipient of SI's 2017 Muhammad Ali Legacy Award and one of the first NFL players to protest the national anthem, Kaepernick has devoted both his energy and his money to the causes he cares about. In '16, took the Million Dollar Pledge, a promise to donate $1 million to organizations dedicated to serving "oppressed" people and communities. He's continued to donate in increments to different organizations, ranging from Home2Heart, which helps provide beds and furniture to single mothers in Atlanta, to Coalition for the Homeless in New York. His website indicates that he has donated $900K of that $1M pledge so ar.

Henrik Lundqvist

The Rangers' goalie started his own foundation, an international grant-making organization with the mission statement to "create positive change in the lives of children and adults throughout the world through education and health services." He has partnered with the New York Presbyterian Children's Hospitals, the Ronald McDonald House in Sweden and Together for Better, an organization to help children in poverty in the Dominican Republic.

Cliff Avril

Avril promised to build a house in his native Haiti for each sack he had last season—and then he went out and bagged a career high 11 1?2 QBs. He rounded up and, along with a group of NFL players, built a dozen homes in the offseason, provided clean water to an orphanage and renovated a school.

Michael Bennett

Half of the Seahawks DE’s 2017 jersey sales profits are pledged to inner-city garden projects, and all of his endorsement earnings are tabbed for s.t.e.a.m. programs (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and charities focused on empowering minority women.

Chris Long

The Eagles DE gave his first six game checks this season—$375K—to fund scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville, then promised the remaining $625K to launch his Pledge 10 for Tomorrow campaign, which will help make education more easily accessible to underserved youth.

Eli Manning

Erratic as he may be on the field, the Giants QB has consistently been among the NFL’s most charitable athletes. He has helped raise more than $25 million for New York March for Babies (to fight premature birth), and his work with the Tackle Kids Cancer campaign has led to more than $1 million in fund-raising.

Alejandro Villanueva

A former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, the Steelers’ left tackle is donating all the proceeds from his jersey sales to the United Service Organizations and other military nonprofits—just like he’s done in each of his past three seasons in the league. This year Villanueva also launched a line of "Big Al's Army" T-shirts, the proceeds from which he’ll donate to two military charities.