This NFL Linebacker Gives to Help Single Parents in Los Angeles

photO: Liderina/shutterstock

photO: Liderina/shutterstock

Los Angeles has its fair share of sports team foundations around town, including the L.A. Dodgers Foundation, L.A. Clippers Foundation, and L.A. Galaxy Foundation. But regardless of how successful the city’s professional players become, their individual giving is often more modest, often flying under the radar. Today’s sports funding story features a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings who hasn’t forgotten his roots as a Los Angeles native and is giving back to a cause that’s close to his heart.

Anthony Barr grew up in his grandparents’ house with his mom, who was working a couple jobs while going to school. Now, he’s a three-time NFL Pro-Bowler and starter for the Minnesota Vikings defense, but he hasn’t forgotten how hard things were for his mom as a single parent. This is why Barr started a foundation that’s “committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for low-income, single parent families by providing single parents access to a post-secondary education or certification.”

When the NFL player first launched Raise the Barr in 2016, the organization's sole focus was providing funds for tuition and childcare for single mothers. But now, the organization is expanding its mission and partnering with local organizations in Los Angeles and the Twin Cities in Minnesota. 

In Los Angeles, Barr recently launched the Raise the Barr Emergency Grant Fund for Single Parent Undergraduates at a wine tasting charity event at L.A.’s Loyola High School, Barr’s alma mater. Barr raised around $50,000 from the event and will put that money to use in the Los Angeles area via grants to UCLA Students with Dependents program, Jenesse Center for Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention, Santa Monica College, and Upward Bound House. The reason that these funds are called “emergency grants” is because research shows that something as simple as a broken-down car or a sick child can prevent single parents from completing their degrees and moving on to find better jobs to support their families.

Also in Los Angeles, Raise the Barr hosted a free football camp in June for youth ages eight to 13 at Loyola High School. Even on a non-emergency basis and in addition to new nonprofit funding, Raise the Barr will continue to provide tuition and childcare funding to single-parent undergraduates via scholarships in both California and Minnesota.

On the surface, this appears to be a very narrow and niche funding area. But in addition to the funder’s new L.A. emergency effort, Barr plans to supplement that support to include wrap-around social services for students in single-parent homes, such as food and shelter. At just 26 years old, Anthony Barr is an athlete-philanthropist to keep an eye on no matter who you root for on the football field.