Phillies Slugger Ryan Howard Donates $1.2 Million in Sports Equipment to Philadelphia Public Schools

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December 2, 2011; Source: CSNPhilly | Announcements of most celebrity charitable donations sound like PR, but this report of a big charitable donation by Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard is worth some attention. The Ryan Howard Family Foundation is giving approximately $1.2 million in Adidas sportswear to the athletic programs of 57 high schools and four middle schools in Philadelphia. Why is this so special? Because Ryan Howard’s gift is to the Philadelphia public schools—not private schools, not special, privately managed charter schools, but regular public schools with athletic programs in a school district that faces a $629 million deficit and is engaged in layoffs. Everyone knows that athletic programs are often at risk when there are public-school funding cutbacks. Howard’s seven-figure donation (not counting his pledge of additional food, clothing, and school supplies for 500 families in need) is striking by virtue of its size and its commitment to supporting the public sector. Can NPQ Newswire readers tell us about other celebrity or athlete charitable donations that compare favorably to Howard’s?—Rick Cohen