By Bob Smietana
Despite missing out on a trip to the White House, Philadelphia Eagles star Carson Wentz is still making news.
Wentz’s foundation recently donated $540,000 to Mission of Hope in Haiti—so that the Christian nonprofit can build a sports complex for kids.
According to NBC television’s Philadelphia affiliate, “The Haiti complex will feature 10 soccer fields, two indoor basketball courts, six outdoor basketball courts, 5,000 shaded seat track and field, dormitories for 200 people, locker rooms and a community park with Wi-Fi, a play space and lighting.”
Programs at the complex will promote teamwork and character building, according to Wentz’s foundation. The charity expects 15,000 kids to take part in its programs.
“Through mentorship, children will learn the importance of teamwork, perseverance, discipline, and how to become men and women of integrity. Sports create a foundation to develop important characteristics that these children will carry with them the rest of their lives,” Mission of Hope says in its description of the center.
Wentz also announced plans to this week to fund “Thy Kingdom Crumb”—a free food truck that will help those in need.
The truck will be run in partnership with a local church.
“The goal is to provide something different, to provide a community atmosphere, to just love all people,” Wentz said in announcing the food truck.
“I think the things that are free these days are kind of confusing—there’s no strings attached with this. I think people will see and experience something different with that.”
In an interview with NBC, Wentz says his job as an NFL player gives him the opportunity to do great things.
“I recognize the power and the platform that I have,” he says. “Eyes are on us. I want to set that good example and be a role model.”
The Eagles, who won the Super Bowl in February, are one of the most outspoken teams in the NFL when it comes to matters of faith. The team produced a video about how faith brought the players together. Players and coaches thanked God for the win in the Super Bowl.
Nick Foles, the backup quarterback who led the Super Bowl victory, also put together a Bible study for the YouVersion app.
The team’s success won over fans. And the players were likable, Anthea Butler, professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Washington Post.
So people didn’t seem put off by how religious the team was.
“They seem like a really decent group of people,” Butler said.
On Tuesday, the White House canceled a ceremony to celebrate the Eagles’ Super Bowl win amid controversy over whether NFL players should be required to stand during the national anthem.
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BOB SMIETANA (@bobsmietana) is senior writer for Facts & Trends.