I’ve wanted to start a foundation for a while now. It is a process that goes into it, but we have finally got it done. What we are focusing on with the Mike Evans Family Foundation is helping kids who do not have the funds to go to college - kids that come from low-income families that worked really hard to apply for college and got in, but now need financial assistance. If I wouldn’t have had a scholarship to go to college, I probably wouldn’t have gone, or I’d probably be in debt if I did; so I wanted to help as much as possible in that aspect.
Secondly, I want to focus on women and families that suffer from domestic violence because I grew up in a household with domestic violence going on; and I know how hard that can be, especially during the holidays. That is why I started my first event during the holidays; because I know that is a tough time for a lot of people and the people I am focusing on through my foundation.
My wife and I can relate to both of these causes so we decided it was the best idea to focus on both. We want to start off small, but hopefully we can get as big as possible and help change a lot of kids’ lives and families’ lives, too in the future.
The foundation will have many events planned throughout the year. We’ll be going to a women’s shelter to serve food. There may be some men there too, but everyone there has suffered from domestic violence. Later on in the year, we’re going to choose 13 kids to tour the Buccaneers headquarters, One Buc Place, and provide them with some really cool swag bags.
Seeing the progress with all of my teammates foundations is what inspired me to start the Mike Evans Family Foundation. Jameis started his not long ago and a lot of my teammates have had theirs for a while. Vincent Jackson had his, and I want to be in that position to help and give back. I have a platform and I feel like it’s my duty to help as much as possible. It’s been a long process to get it started, but I’m happy that we finally got it off the ground.
It’s an awesome feeling to be able to use my platform to inspire the youth and set the path for the future generations. Aside from being in the NFL and playing at the highest level of football in the world – I am a competitor and I love it – but this is the best thing to me. Being able to help people, help my family, help my friends, and others; people that I don’t even know. I want to help because there are a lot of people out there who need help, and I want to contribute. I know how blessed and fortunate I am to be in this position. I had a lot of people help me along the way, so I just want to give back and help while I can.
All of this has been possible with a lot of help. I had so much help starting with my mom. My dad died at a young age, but I had a lot of good father figures in my life. Life was hard, but the people around me made it so easy, that’s what it is. That’s why I try to be as giving as possible and I try to give back to the youth, because guys gave back to me and I want to do the same thing. Anything can happen in life. It’s not about what you’re given when you’re born, it’s about what you do after. That’s my take on it. I want to give back as much as possible and just have fun living life.