Minnesota's Alexander Mattison Named Week 1 NFLPA Community MVP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alexander Mattison has been named the first NFLPA Community MVP of the 2023-2024 season after he hosted a back-to-school event through his I AM GIFTED foundation for more than 250 underserved kids in Minnesota.
“I am truly honored and feel extremely blessed to receive this recognition,” Mattison said. “I do what I do, not to make any headlines, but to hopefully impact lives.”
The Minnesota Vikings running back kicked off his season-long Rush 2 Give initiative on August 30 with a fun-filled event for local students from under-resourced schools. Teaming up with the Salvation Army, Mattison provided the more than 250 kids in attendance with new backpacks, books, school supplies, shirts, shoes, socks and I AM GIFTED wristbands. Local barbers were also on site to give free haircuts to the kids in preparation for the new school year.
During the event, the fifth-year veteran took time to speak with the kids, reminding them that he was once in their shoes while encouraging them to stay hopeful, even in those times when they may feel down and alone.
“I encourage mental health practices because I have personally experienced how hard life realistically is,” Mattison said. “I hope that after an I AM GIFTED experience, no matter what adversity they might face, these kids can look in the mirror and say, ‘I AM GIFTED’ and truly believe it.”
Along with helping out those in his team city, Mattison extended his vow for support to the youth in his hometown of San Bernadino, California. During an August 5 event at his alma mater, San Bernadino High School, 250 students received backpacks filled with school supplies and mental health cards.
These two charitable efforts marked the official launch of the “Rush 2 Give: 2023 Giveback Tour.” Each month from August – December, Mattison and his I AM GIFTED Foundation will give back to a cause close to his heart. For September, the Boise State alum will bless a deserving family with a full Vikings home game experience, continuing what will be a variety of unique, philanthropic initiatives and events throughout the rest of the year.
Since being drafted by the Vikings in 2019, Mattison has been a consistent source of support for the communities who have played a role in his football journey. He annually donates $11,000 in scholarships to programs in the San Bernardino/Inland Empire area that benefit students at his alma mater. This past offseason, he partnered with former NFL player Greg Bell’s Athletes For Life Foundation to offer three, free I AM GIFTED youth football camps -- one in his hometown of San Bernardino, one in his college town of Boise, Idaho and one in his pro team city of Minneapolis. The experiences featured a combine for high schoolers to refine their football skills along with educational workshops focusing on financial literacy, NCAA rules and regulations and I AM GIFTED’s mental health awareness tools.
“Not only do I aim to help provide knowledge and resources that I didn’t have growing up, but my goal is to help individuals -- the youth especially -- to open their eyes to doing everything they possibly can do to become the best version of themselves in every aspect of their life, day in and day out.” Mattison said.
In honor of Mattison being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA is making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice. In turn, Mattison will take part in a virtual or in-person visit to a school or children’s hospital. Along with the other 2023-24 Community MVPs, he will also become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.
Now in its 10th season, the Community MVP campaign is part of the NFLPA’s continued efforts to support the year-round, civic outreach and engagement of its player members. Please visit the NFLPA Community MVP website to learn more about the program.
2023-24 NFLPA Community MVP winners:
Week 1: Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
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 NFL season. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.