Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is giving back in a big way. The football player announced this week that he'll donate all of his 2017 endorsement money to programs helping to rebuild minority communities and empower women of color.
Bennett also pledged to donate 50 percent of the proceeds from his jersey sales this year to support inner-city garden projects to help promote healthy living and nutrition.
In an Instagram post featuring a photo of his three daughters, Bennett shared that he was inspired to make the donations by Chance the Rapper, who recently announced a donation of $1 million to Chicago Public Schools and has a history of giving back to his community.
"The system is failing our kids, and it will be up to the community and our leaders to help keep the hope alive by focusing on improving our education system and the future of our kids," Bennett wrote in his announcement.
"Any company that decides to invest in me," he continued, "just know that you'll be investing in opportunities and providing inspiration for these families — many who feel unnoticed or go unmentioned."
He ended the message by encouraging other professional athletes to follow his lead and donate a portion of their own endorsements to causes they care about. "We can make a difference," he wrote. "It's up to us to help plant seeds of hope and help fuel the future."
Chance the Rapper took notice, sharing Bennett's story on Twitter and adding, "Good man."
Bennett has already been active in social justice. He's shown his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest. This February, he shared several Instagram posts honoring important figures for Black History Month, and he recently shared his solidarity with the women's strike on International Women's Day.
He's also previously called on his fellow athletes to speak out more about social issues. "You just want to be a good advocate for speaking up for what is going on and making sure you have great influencers," he said.
(H/T: USA Today)