CHICAGO'S CHARLES LENO JR. NAMED WEEK 16 NFLPA COMMUNITY MVP
The Chicago Bears offensive lineman contributed nearly $35,000 in monetary donations and gifts to help underserved communities in his team city of Chicago and hometown of the Bay Area.
CHICAGO’S CHARLES LENO JR. NAMED WEEK 16 NFLPA COMMUNITY MVP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Charles Leno Jr. has been named Week 16 NFLPA Community MVP for supporting 20 charitable organizations and five people in need through his Leno Claus’ 25 Day Countdown To Christmas initiative.
“I am honored and blessed to be recognized as the Week 16 NFLPA Community MVP,” Leno said. “As I establish my foundation for the future, I think it is essential to use my platform to impact the field where it matters most.”
The idea was birthed while Leno, his wife, Jennifer, and their daughter were watching a commercial promoting Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” movie schedule. What resulted was a unique countdown to spread more holiday cheer, with the Lenos providing nearly $35,000 in monetary donations and gifts to select non-profits and individuals.
During the first 20 days, the Lenos partnered with various organizations who help underserved communities in Charles’s team city of Chicago and his native region, the Bay Area. Then, across the final five days, the Bears offensive lineman and his wife played Secret Santa for five individuals who had been nominated by their community to receive a special holiday gift.
The following is a breakdown of the people and organizations that were blessed by the Lenos:
-Day 1: Provided Leno Claus T-shirts to Little City
-Day 2: Donated $1,000 toward gifts and covering patient bills at Neonatal Follow-up Special Start Program
-Day 3: Sent grocery store gift cards to Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center
-Day 4: Purchased gifts from the holiday wish list and held a Zoom call with kids from WINGS
-Day 5: Made monetary donation for holiday gifts to Kaleidoscope
-Day 6: Purchased City BBQ for the largest Ronald McDonald House in Chicago
-Day 7: Donated $1,000 toward meals for the students at Life Learning Academy.
-Day 8: Donated essential items and called up Bears fans at Home of the Sparrow shelter
-Day 9: Contributed essential items to A Safe Place
-Day 10: Adopted a family with seven children in partnership with Target Area
-Day 11: Purchased toys and gift cards for the holiday shop at Housing Opportunities for Women
-Day 12: Donated T-shirts and gift cards to My Father’s Business
-Day 13: Gave gift cards and held a Zoom call with kids, mentors and family members at The Bridge Youth & Family Services
-Day 14:Provided 65 drawstring bags that each had shampoo, conditioner, loofahs, soap, gloves, hats, granola bars and journals to Housing Forward
-Day 15: Purchased 35 gifts for children at Family Focus
-Day 16: Donated gift cards, headphones, hats and gloves from one of the program wish lists at Heartland Alliance
-Day 17: Donated gifts off the holiday wish list at Breakthrough
-Day 18: Contributed 240 blankets for the homeless in Chicago through Chitown Blankets
-Day 19: Donated $2,500 with a $2,500 match granted by the Chicago Bears to go toward a “she cave” at Magdalene House. The Lenos will also hold two virtual events where Charles will host a Q&A and teach football skills while Jennifer will be part of a panel of women with NFL ties to discuss managing visibility, stereotypes and finding their own identity
-Day 20: The Lenos are granting $5,000 to help OK Program create a summer retreat that will help young men learn life skills and build a great community
-Day 21: Gifted a signed jersey and $720 toward a new PlayStation for a retired Air Force veteran who helps others on Twitter through his #RandomActsOfCoolness campaign
-Day 22: Cleared out a gift wish list for a single mother who had been shot and whose boyfriend committed suicide
-Day 23: Paid a medical gift and sent a gift card for dinner to a family whose son is battling anxiety and trauma after enduring an unknown appendix infection and whose mother was diagnosed with cancer for a third time
-Day 24: Sent gift cards for much-needed date nights to a couple whose 16-month-old is battling a rare brain condition
-Day 25: Donated $720 to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Western Great Lakes in honor of a family whose infant son passed away due to postpartum hemorrhage. After pumping breast milk in the hospital for when she expected her son to come home, this was the organization to which his mother donated her milk.
“This holiday season is just the beginning of the impact that my family and I are determined to make throughout the community,” Leno said.
The seven-year veteran and Pro Bowler has continuously poured back into his team city and hometown since entering the NFL in 2014. This past summer, Leno contributed $35,000 in partnership with former Bears teammate and NFLPA Executive Committee member Sam Acho, who led the transformation of a Chicago liquor store into a grocery store. Leno also regularly hosts Zoom mentorship calls with and contributes to charitable organizations as well as his high school alma mater, which has received new uniforms and PPE equipment.
In honor of Leno being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice.Also, our supporting partner Pledge It has set up a crowdfunding campaign to benefit Chicago Youth Centers. Supporters can make a flat donation at the following website:
Leno, along with the other 2020 Community MVPs, will become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.
The NFLPA Community MVP program recognizes NFL players who are making a positive impact in their hometowns and team cities. Each week during the regular season, the NFLPA will celebrate one player who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back to his community. Please visit our website to learn more about the program.
2020 NFLPA Community MVP winners:
Week 0: Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans
Week 1: Cam Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 2: Rodney McLeod, Philadelphia Eagles
Week 3: Landon Collins, Washington Football Team
Week 4: Oren Burks, Green Bay Packers
Week 5: Harrison Phillips, Buffalo Bills
Week 6: Derrick Brown, Carolina Panthers
Week 7: Shawn Williams, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 8: Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles
Week 9: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 10: Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers
Week 11: Malcom Butler, Tennessee Titans
Week 12: Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 13: Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
Week 14: Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos
Week 15: Brandon Copeland, New England Patriots
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through the 2030 season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.