In 2005, Braylon Edwards, then a rookie wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, gave a challenge to 100 local eighth-graders: If they could graduate high school with a 2.5 GPA and 15 hours of community service, they would each get $10,000 scholarships. Years later, Edwards is still offering this chance to college students.
In 2007 Edwards, who now plays for the San Francisco 49ers, started the Advance 100 Program through the Braylon Edwards Foundation (BEF). It's a continuation of the promise he made to those Cleveland-area kids, 79 of whom met the original criteria, according to Yahoo! Sports. The program was developed by Edwards and his mother as a way to use their good fortunes to help others. Even though they didn't expect many students to fit the criteria (only half of Cleveland public school students graduate), they went through with their commitment anyway.
Those 79 original students were provided with laptops and other supplies to help them once they arrived in college. Edwards is paid a $1 million base salary for the year, which is about half what he'll pay the Advance 100 students to get through college.
Edwards is certainly not the only athlete to help those who are less fortunate. A look at Pros Give Back, a site which tracks good deeds from athletes all over the sports world, will show many other acts of generosity like Edwards'. We've also seen similar philanthropy from athletes like Jonathan Vilma and Craig Breslow. In an age where we see athletes and owners squabbling over millions of dollars, it's good to read stories like the one coming out of the Advance 100 Program.