There comes a point in time in many people’s lives when they have the opportunity to reflect on the path that has brought them to the present, and they have the ability to look forward in a positive light and forge a better future. It’s the opportunity for a second chance.
At Team Vick Foundation, we believe that everyone is entitled to start over and pave a better path for themselves and their loved ones. That’s why we are dedicated to digging deep to help those in need of a second chance. It’s something that our founder, NFL Quarterback, Michael Vick, has lived, identified with and believes strongly in. It is the reason why it is the platform for what we do. And it all stems from Michael’s passions: family, football and community.
Growing up in Newport News, VA, Michael was privy to problems that plague many urban neighborhoods, including violence, drug abuse, bad decisions and much more. Despite living in a tough environment, Michael came from a loving and hardworking home. His mother, Brenda Vick, worked hard to provide for a family of four children while his father was serving in the army. Michael learned from his parents that no matter what, family comes first. He became driven by his mother and father’s dedication to making ends meet and strived for opportunities to change his path for the better. When he found football, he pushed himself to go all the way, working hard to be the very best not only for himself but for his family, too. Through football, he gained a sense of community.
Having developed a love for football at the age of seven, Michael learned the importance of teamwork early on in his life. Through his involvement on many teams from Pop Warner to the NFL, he experienced the power of unity. And with the understanding of what teamwork can accomplish, he created his own team, and our foundation began to form.
It all began when tragedy struck Michael’s alma mater, Virginia Tech University. In 2007, a gunman killed and wounded many on campus, changing the lives in the University’s community and throughout the country. Michael knew he had to give back and do what he could to help alleviate the burdens that faced the families affected by the tragedy. Michael provided $10,000 to an effort spearheaded by the United Way and called forth a challenge to his teammates, friends and colleagues in the NFL. Together, and in collaboration with the United Way, more than $170,000 was collected in 72 hours to help families pay for travel, childcare, phone bills, funeral arrangements and other unforeseen expenses. For years following this event, Michael became more passionate and involved in partnerships and projects aimed at helping individuals turn difficult corners in their lives.
The notion of a second chance hit home for Michael after serving in federal prison for 23 months for animal cruelty. Following his release from prison, Michael formed a new focus and commitment to his three passions: community, football and family. This progression in Michael’s life allowed this charitable foundation to manifest. With our passionate Executive Director, Tracy L. Morris, at the helm, we’ve been able to dig deep within ourselves and become aggressive in pursuing projects with positive societal impacts.
Team Vick Foundation formally launched on September 18, 2012, in Philadelphia when we committed our first major gift to the Hunting Park Revitalization Project, an effort spearheaded by the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, to restore an 87-acre diamond in the rough in the heart of the city’s badlands. Team Vick Foundation pledged $200,000 to the restoration of Hunting Park’s football field, a puny plot of land that has been out of commission for many years. The community’s Pop Warner championship-winning football program, the North Philly Aztecs, hasn’t been able to utilize the field for home games in nearly 20 years. The promise of a new football field is a redemption story not only for the Aztecs but for the park and the Hunting Park community in Philadelphia.
Michael and Team Vick Foundation have been able to tackle other projects including participation in Toys for Tots programs in Philadelphia; creating two college scholarships at an alternative high school in Philadelphia so children can pursue their dreams of college; working with hundreds of young people and adults through a preventive, intervention and emergency-service program; establishing programs such as our Great Backpacks initiative to advance young people’s academic development; offering sports programs that are strategically designed to challenge young people while also providing them with fundamental team and character building skills; and many more efforts which you can read about here . Ultimately, we aim to bridge the gaps between donors and communities to promote hope and enhance the quality of life for those that reside in socially and economically under-represented neighborhoods.
We understand that many people are in need of a helping hand to pull them out of critical situations or the guidance to turn a new leaf. We are committed to help provide opportunities that lead to positive social change. We know this is no easy feat. It takes a team. At Team Vick Foundation, we are always recruiting supporters and those willing to help those in need of a second chance. Join our team!