Athletes throughout various leagues are known to be active in charitable organizations of their choice. Some even create charities of their own to support causes close to their heart, and this is no different for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A family who exhibits this is J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver who were the former owners of the Jaguars before our current owner, Shahid Khan. The Weavers created a foundation called The Weaver Family Foundation that donated more than $1 million a year to Northeast Florida foundations such as United Way, Teach for America KIPP Jacksonville and St. Vincent’s Health Care. Delores is a woman who has a heart for Jacksonville and wants to see our city reach its greatest potential.
There is also Tom Coughlin, former head coach of the Jaguars, who created a foundation called the Jay Fund. This fund was created to help families whose children are battling cancer by providing financial, emotional and practical support. The Jay Fund was created in 1996 by Coughlin after he saw Jay McGillis, who was a member of his football team at Boston College, battle leukemia. After Jay lost his life, and Coughlin and his family supported the McGillis family as they dealt with their loss, Coughlin made it a point to find a way to offer assistance to other families who were going through similar trials.
The impact these locals have made through being involved and creating charities of their own has paved the way for Jaguars players to leave their own mark to help the city of Jacksonville. Three such players who are doing exactly this are Will Blackmon, Josh Scobee and Cecil Shorts.
Will Blackmon, cornerback for the Jaguars, is involved in local charities such as Daniel Kids and the Youth Crisis Center. Nationally, he helps with the Crohns and Colitis foundation of America which holds a special place in his heart.
When asked why he chose to be involved with these charities, Blackmon responded, “I grew up with a lot of kids who were considered ‘at risk’ or ‘troubled youth.’ I knew once I was in a position to help give support I would. Crohns is personal to me because I lost my mother due to this disease. So this was a no-brainer to get involved with.”
Throughout participating in various charity events, Blackmon has made many memories that are unforgettable. But the one that stood out the most was when, “One person reached out to me on Instagram, saying that their best friend was having another surgery to help her crohns. I found out she was local, and surprised her at the hospital before her surgery. She was really surprised, it was pretty cool.”
Blackmon also shared that he likes to make sure that he is accessible to people and that despite being a public figure, he wants people to know that he is still a regular person.