Tennessee Titan Tim Lelito understands that doing something you love can come with a price. Which is why the first priority of his Lelito’s Legacy Foundation fund is to grant $9,000 to cover Michigan’s required Pay to Play fees for area youth in need.
“Growing up in a household with a strict budget, I saw my family and other teammates pinch pennies just to keep us in the game,” said Tim Lelito, NFL offensive lineman. “It is important that I give back to these kids so they can receive the proper equipment needed to succeed and be freed from the financial stresses to do something they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.”
Lelito also knows teamwork is important for any sport, so he threw down a challenge: donate to help cover pay to play fees and he’ll match it. Five community partners came together to raise $4,500 and Lelito’s Legacy Foundation matched it with another $4,500.
Every public middle school and high school with pay to play fees in St. Clair County will benefit. These grants will support an estimated 116 kids during Fall 2017/Spring 2018.
Support for this collaborative effort came from organizations around the county. Money was donated by the Port Huron Schools Endowment Fund; East China School District Athletic Boosters and PTOs; the Community Foundation of St. Clair County’s Youth Advisory Council and its Marysville Community Fund; and the CAPAC (Capac Adolescents Preventing Abuse and Crime) Fund, a donor-advised fund established by Darcy Flynn at the Four County Community Foundation in 1999.
Capac native Darcy Flynn, a retired certified public accountant and attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, currently resides in Maryland but recognizes the importance of what Lelito is doing. His CAPAC Fund gave $600 to middle and high school students attending Capac schools.
“The intent of my fund is to provide opportunities for Capac youth to make good choices and avoid any kind of abuse, whether it be bullying or drugs,” Flynn said. “Encouraging students to get involved with activities like sports directs their focus in a positive way, so removing barriers like pay to play fees is crucial.”
Although, like Flynn, Lelito’s career path took him out of state, the St. Clair County native recognizes the importance of giving back to his hometown. He established his donor-advised Lelito’s Legacy Foundation fund in October 2016 at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County.
This fund provides opportunities for youth to promote skill development, sportsmanship and positive self-growth. Lelito’s Legacy Foundation seeks to better the lives of children with adversities greater than they can overcome by themselves through sports.
“Seeing all these organizations come together to support the mission of Lelito’s Legacy Foundation is incredible,” Lelito said. “It highlights the importance of sports and other programs for students. All youth should have access to sports regardless of if they can afford to play or not.”