Washington's Charles Leno Jr. Named Week 17 NFLPA Community MVP


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Brandon Parker, Senior Communications Manager



WASHINGTON, D.C. –Charles Leno Jr. has been named the Week 17 NFLPA Community MVP after hosting 25 days of service for those in need through his annual Leno Claus initiative. This marks the fourth straight season that the Washington Commanders has earned this honor for his unique outreach campaign.

“Being a four-time NFLPA Community MVP is a huge honor,” Leno said. “Using this platform that football has given me to be able to make an impact within my communities is what truly matters most." 

“This year, our annual Leno Claus initiative was dedicated to our fourth daughter Paitynn Maui, who we lost in October unexpectedly to a miscarriage, so it is only right to dedicate this award to her. We will continue to pay it forward in each of our communities for the years to come.”

In honor of his late daughter, Leno and his wife, Jennifer, kicked off this season’s Leno Claus by announcing the launch of “Paitynn’s Friends.” Beginning in the spring of 2024, the initiative will support those who have lost a brother or sister by providing care packages during their time of grief.

Through their Beyond The Entertainer foundation, the Lenos spent the next 25 days partnering with more than 20 different non-profits and causes while touching the lives of people across the country in the following ways:

Dec. 1 – Teamed up with Chi Town Blankets to provide 720 new blankets to be distributed and used by those enduring the cold Chicago winters. 

Dec. 2 – Covered the travel expenses for a family to attend a legacy retreat hosted by Inheritance of Hope, which offers a supportive environment and experience for families who are facing terminal illnesses.

Dec. 3 – Provided 10 iPads to include in the gift bags provided by Connor’s Heroes, which is dedicated to helping Central Virginia families cope with childhood cancer.

Dec. 4 – Sponsored multiple foster families to have an outing at Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, which featured an art project to help raise funds for the site as well as a goodie bag for each bag with toys and a gift card.

Dec. 5 – Gave more than $3,000 worth in sweatsuits for the Sweats for Vets event put on by the Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter in Leesburg, Virginia to foster camaraderie among military veterans of overseas conflict.

Dec. 6 – Funded the purchase of all gifts for children of the families supported by the WIN Foundation, which helps those in addiction recovery.

Dec. 7 – Donated eight computers to the F.R.E.E. (Focused Resilient Empowered women and girls who realize they are more than Enough) Center created by She’s My Daughter’s organization, which equips women and girls with the skills and support necessary to thrive through self-enrichment activities, leadership development and the creative arts.

Dec. 8 – Partnered with The Hogfarmers to provide one gaming cart with a system valued at $5,000 for the patients at the National Children’s Hospital to enjoy during a special visit that also included Bingo and reading with Leno.

Dec. 9 – Threw a pizza and gift-wrapping party, made a monetary donation and spent time talking with the homeless youth and adults at Mobile Hope, which provides support and emergency shelter to youth who are at-risk, precariously housed or experiencing homelessness.

Dec. 10 – Partnered with She Believes In Me organization to create a morning of fun for 200 girls ages 7-13 that included arts & crafts, gym time and goodie bags with personal hygiene items and motivational trinkets.

Dec. 11 – Hosted an open gym alongside KEEN Greater DC for young athletes who have different types of disabilities and provided swag and T-shirts for participants.

Dec. 12 – Joined DC Candlelighters for its holiday party at Centreville Presbyterian Church, where they connected with 60 families who have been impacted by cancer and distributed gift cards.

Dec. 13 – He and his fellow Commanders offensive lineman hosted a group of 30 teenagers from a local Boys & Girls Club for a night of bowling, arcade games, dinner and $100 gift cards.

Dec. 14 – Donated $14,000 in honor of their late daughter Paitynn Maui to Aaliyah In Action, which comforts families who have experienced perinatal loss, neonatal loss or infant death.

Dec. 15 – Held a holiday party at a Ronald McDonald House D.C. that included music, cupcake decorating, and arts & crafts while also granting more than $3,000 worth of essential items, gift cards, toys and tablets to the home.

Dec. 16 – Provided more than $3,000 worth of gifts to a toy drive and helped pass out essential items to the elderly at an outreach event hosted by GOOD Projects, which empowers youth and families to live free from poverty.

Dec. 17 – Gifted a teenage Boise State superfan who is battling cancer with an all-expenses paid trip to the school’s bowl game in California along with his mother and father. Leno, who played at Boise State, arranged for them to meet the team, go on the field, watch the game from a suite and receive a customized jersey.

Dec. 18 – Gave 10 new computers to the Paul Stefan Foundation so that a group of new moms can pursue their education.

Dec. 19 – Sponsored this year’s “Small Giant in the Community” award for the Greg Najee Grimes 212 Foundation, which focuses youth advocacy, social conscientiousness and stopping gun violence.

Dec. 20 – Hosted his foundation’s second all-girls football clinic, working with a local women’s team to teach the basics of the sport and give each participant a T-shirt, backpack, water bottle, headband and sports bra.

Dec. 21 – Supplied more than $3,000 worth of items to new moms in need at a baby shower event hosted by the I’m Her Foundation.

Dec. 22-25: Adopted 22 families, including those battling cancer, single-parent households and those affected by trauma, and assisted them in various ways such as purchasing their holiday wish lists, assisting with rent, helping with daycare costs, buying groceries and more.

In honor of Leno being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA is making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice. In turn, Leno 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 
Week 2: Bijan Robinson, Atlanta Falcons
Week 3: Justin Hardee, New York Jets 
Week 4. Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions
Week 5: Arik Armstead, San Francisco 49ers
Week 6: Emmanuel Ogbah, Miami Dolphins
Week 7: Calais Campbell, Atlanta Falcons
Week 8: Cam Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 9: Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants
Week 10: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Week 11: Jalen Pitre, Houston Texans
Week 12: Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Titans
Week 13: Lawrence Guy, New England Patriots
Week 14: Pat Surtain II, Denver Broncos
Week 15: Harrison Phillips, Minnesota Vikings
Week 16: Tyrel Dodson, Buffalo Bills
Week 17: Charles Leno Jr., Washington Commanders


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.