Isaac Rochell: #AthleteAnd Philanthropist
Back in March, during a time when most were doing their best to keep their distance from others due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaac Rochell was brainstorming ways to bring people together.
“We had all of this extra time and also a desire to help people,” recalled Rochell, a defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Chargers. “We kept asking ourselves, ‘How can we make donating fun and easy but also super impactful at the same time?’”
Ultimately, Local Human was born. Led by Rochell and his neighbor, Trevor Beck, the philanthropic company creates apparel with intention – not to fill their own pockets, but to fill the buckets of others.
Each month, the organization chooses a charity to support and creates a T-shirt to accompany its cause. For each T-shirt sold, Local Human sends one T-shirt to a children’s foster center while donating ever dollar from each purchase to their non-profit, The Do Good Foundation. To top things off, Local Human and The Do Good Foundation join the #FeelGoodFridayMovement each week by brightening someone’s day through a random act of kindness.
More than 600 shirts were sold in the first month alone, resulting in more than 1,800 meals and 600 wellness checks via Meals on Wheels as well as immense relief for those communities most vulnerable to COVID-19.
But it wasn’t until the second pandemic of 2020–racism–resurfaced in May following the murder of George Floyd that Rochell knew he had found his calling off the field.
“What started as an initiative to give back during COVID evolved into making an impact within social justice in America,” said Rochell, who teamed up with several Chargers teammates to pass out food and water to the 50,000 protestors at June’s #AllBlackLivesMatter protest in California. “There’s a lack of opportunity in the Black community for a lot of different, systemic reasons, and COVID has attacked black communities in a different way, so we wanted to address those issues.”
With a focus on allyship and a lifetime commitment to social justice, Local Human created the “More Than A Tee” shirt for June’s campaign. All proceeds went to Campaign Zero (legislation against police brutality), the United Negro College Fund (access to higher education) and the National Fair Housing Alliance (combatting redlining). A food insecurity initiative followed, as Rochell zeroed in on helping the humans and communities dually impacted by the ongoing COVID and racial pandemics.
“Before COVID hit, one in seven Black households struggled with food insecurity. After COVID, that number’s gone up to one in four Black households,” said Rochell, whose philanthropy resulted in a $1,500 to No Kid Hungry and 500 Impossible Burgers to the LA County Food Bank. “There are so many different pieces and needs to this, so everybody has to figure out what they can and want to attack.”
We kept asking ourselves, ‘How can we make donating fun and easy but also super impactful at the same time?'
It’s safe to say that Rochell has found the right formula. Seven months in, the Chargers player representative and Local Human are have donated more than $50,000 to charity. On the horizon is a campaign to benefit the Professional Athletes Foundation and its mission of supporting and empowering former NFL players in their post-football careers. And for Rochell, that serves as a fitting reminder that his work and impact are just beginning.
“I think it definitely started off as a hobby of just wanting to give back, and then I think it just turned into a passion-slash-business,” Rochell said. “It’s been a humbling, unreal journey. But it's the same mindset with football. I've been in the NFL now for four years. That's great. I'm super proud of that. But I look forward and I'm like, there's still so much more that has to be done.”
It's not widely known, but most foster centers do not accept worn or used clothing. This puts a HUGE financial burden on these centers to provide quality clothing. Local Human donates one tee to these foster centers for any product sold to help lighten the load.
Local Human and their philanthropic arm, The Do Good Foundation, are founded on the premise of giving back. Whether it's by donating money, volunteering time, or just rising spirits through compliments, the power of "giving" is their true calling.
100% of the revenue generated by Local Human products is donated to The Do Good Foundation.