Rashad Jennings always had a vision to start a Foundation. But for him, it was never about what giving back could do for his image. Instead, it has always been about helping others overcome the various adversities he has experienced in his own journey.
Rashad was an average kid who was a little overweight, not the best academically, with parents who were very busy doing what they could to provide for him and his siblings. It seemed all he had going for himself was a dream that very few ever get to see come true. Rashad dreamed of one day becoming an NFL Running Back. Statistically speaking, and by all appearances available, the odds were stacked against him ever reaching the status of a player in the National Football League. Yet here he is today… and he is determined to help pave the way for kids like him to achieve their dreams also.
The Rashad Jennings Foundation educates, inspires and encourages youth everywhere through three main initiatives: The Reading Challenge, Mentorship and Camp 180. Rashad realizes that one of the key reasons why his childhood dreams are a reality today is because, in his youth, someone cared enough to inspire him through education, provide him with mentorship for success, and encourage health and fitness as a way of life. These real-life experiences are what drive the Rashad Jennings Foundation; it is why we do what we do!
In addition to equipping youth through the RJF, Rashad’s heart is to use his foundation to help equip his NFL peers from all 32 NFL teams with opportunities to give back and to use their platform as professional athletes for positive impact. To do so, Rashad tailored his literacy and mentorship programs to be branded in athlete’s names from around the league so that they, too, can host their own program in their communities.
When Rashad retires from the NFL, his dream is to continue to use the RJF to equip NFL players with their own programs, resources and guidance on how to give back and use their platforms to make a difference in their communities.
Rashad says, “It’s not about me. It’s about all of the NFL players coming behind me and the communities they can serve.”
WATCH: THE RJF Featured on CNBC’s #1 Rated Business Show: Squawk Box!