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Posted 21 September 2023

Give Back and Grow: Athlete Edition

Since the NCAA policy was adjusted in 2021 and college athletes became eligible for name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals, a lot has changed. For the first time, student-athletes are able to profit from playing their sport. Across all athletics, there are a variety of deals being signed, but some stand out from the rest through their philanthropic giving. 

Developing Character  

Many choose to use their NIL income to pay for daily expenses, start their savings, send money home to support their families, and more. Meanwhile, some choose to start or continue their philanthropic journey, donating their earnings to a cause they believe in. This practice has a two-fold benefit. It’s wonderful to be able to support a cause near to your heart, and it helps build your personal brand. Companies are more likely to extend deals to athletes with an existing social presence, and being a young philanthropist is a great way to attract those opportunities. 

Local Inspiration 

One example of this philanthropy in action is Michigan State University’s Mady Sissoko. Starting his collegiate basketball career in 2020, Sissoko is originally from Bafoulabé, Mali, in West Africa. As a child, he learned and studied alongside underprivileged community members, many without shoes or school supplies. As a result, when he came to MSU to play, he chose to donate his NIL deal earnings to his hometown through The Mady Sissoko Foundation.  

Sissoko’s heartwarming story isn’t the only one. This wave of NIL athletes is encouraging and inspiring others to follow suit. Not only does this practice enhance philanthropy and provide support to underprivileged communities, but it’s great for the players and companies involved as well. 

Get Going with Giving 

Whether or not you’re a college athlete, it can be challenging to decide where to donate your time and money. However, some reflection can help you to maximize your impact. Considering things like who helped you make it to where you are today, if there are any organizations that had a strong impact on you or a loved one, or even researching a new organization whose cause interests you are all great places to get started!  

Philanthropy can have such an impact on the lives of others. With all the options available, it can be overwhelming to decide where to give, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Next time you get the opportunity to donate, explore these options to maximize your impact.