Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins Named Week 9 NFLPA Community MVP
The safety’s foundation is helping kids across the country succeed in higher education
In the past two weeks, Malcolm Jenkins held two upscale events in two different cities all to benefit youth in places near to him. And fittingly, two very special guests had the chance to tell attendees about the incredible impact his foundation has had on their lives.
The Philadelphia Eagles safety spent the first five seasons with the Saints, and it was during that time that he established The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation. He also established a love of the Big Easy and seamlessly integrated the cuisine and culture into both charitable fundraisers.
On November 2, the Piscataway, New Jersey native hosted his second annual, Blitz, Bow-Ties & Bourbon event. He and his Eagles teammates mingled with guests who were treated to tastings from the area’s top restaurants, VIP bourbon tasting and live music to help bring Jenkins’ organization’s youth programming to Philadelphia.
Back south, he held the third annual Taste of New Orleans fundraiser on October 26 alongside Saint Jairus Byrd. Attendees sampled the city’s best food and wine as Jenkins raised money to support his foundation’s Project R.E.W.A.R.D.S., which provides leadership curriculum and college scholarships for New Orleans youth.
“Through the Foundation, it’s my goal to leave a lasting imprint on every city where I’ve lived, worked and played.” Jenkins said. The Ohio State graduate has brought its impact to Columbus in addition to his New Jersey hometown and two NFL team cities. “With events like these, we are able to not only raise funds, but increase awareness of the Foundation’s work and create new relationships with businesses and organizations that share our mission.”
A Big Impact in the Big Easy
The events have historically raised about $15,000 each, and this year was no different. Jenkins said “the community rose to the challenge again,” and the funds will be put towards the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation’s mission of changing the life trajectory of young people in underserved communities by providing resources and opportunities.
“One of the best - and truly, one of my proudest - moments from the Taste of New Orleans was welcoming two Malcolm Jenkins Scholars to the stage to speak about the impact of Project R.E.W.A.R.D.S.,” Jenkins said.
Joshua Young, a member of the foundation’s 2013 College Track New Orleans Class and scholarship recipient who is now a criminal justice major at Loyola University, spoke to attendees first.
“Joshua shared how the program connected him with leaders who inspired him to think bigger and dream higher,” Jenkins said. “He told us how the scholarship afforded him the opportunity to open his first bank account, along with financing the purchase of books, materials and meals during his first two years at Loyola.”
Tia Harris, a member of the foundation’s 2014 College Track New Orleans Class and scholarship recipient, is pursuing a psychology and urban studies - public policy double major, with a minor in political science, at Dillard University.
“It was during her time in the Project R.E.W.A.R.D.S program that her interest in social justice was introduced,” Jenkins said. “As a result of the scholarship, Tia was able to purchase a laptop for school, and pay all of her on-campus fees and expenses. She said that without the scholarship, she would have struggled to cover the costs. But with the Foundation’s assistance, she was able to focus on what she was there to do, and that is to get the best education possible.”
A Rewarding Experience
Project R.E.W.A.R.D.S. stands for Reinforcing Education With Activities, Recreation and Developmental Supports and actively engages high school students. It focuses on building self-confidence, health and wellness, strategic thinking, leadership development and mentoring.
“While I’ve been very fortunate to realize my dreams of becoming a professional athlete, and some may say I am lucky, ‘luck’ is not a word I would use to describe my journey,” Jenkins said. “I have learned that true success cannot be achieved without hard work, tireless passion and a never-ending commitment to personal growth.”
“Even when these virtues were present, of equal importance was the support system of parents, coaches, teachers, mentors, and church and community leaders who celebrated, motivated, encouraged and lifted me up during challenging moments,” he continued. “I was blessed with this strong foundation, yet not every child is so fortunate. Therefore, I have made it my mission to continue the cycle of giving that I received from so many.”
A Year-Round Mission
Jenkins and his Foundation remains incredibly active throughout the year. In addition to Project R.E.W.A.R.D.S., the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation has hosted an annual football camp for more than 400 boys and girls each year and educated countless students and parents on issues like nutrition and sports safety.
He also understands that holidays can be the hardest times for the communities’ neediest, and for the last four years, he has organized surprise donations of turkeys and all the trimmings for 135 families in New Orleans who otherwise may not get to share a festive dinner. He will be expanding the event to Philadelphia this season.
“I recognize the many challenges that today’s young people tackle,” Jenkins said. “With the Foundation, I aspire to empower youth around the nation - in particular, those in the cities and states in which I have lived.”
For more information about the Malcolm Jenkins foundation, visit: www.themalcolmjenkinsfoundation.org