|NEW YORK, NY (October 22, 2013) - The Heisman Trophy Trust named Basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson as the eighth Heisman Humanitarian award winner for his decades-long dedication to helping families in need in the San Antonio, Texas community. Robinson will be officially honored at the 79th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner Gala on December 16, 2013 at the New York Marriott Marquis.
In addition to honoring the outstanding college football player of the year, The Heisman Trust’s mission is to provide opportunities for the underprivileged and underserved members of our society. Since the Trust assumed stewardship of the Heisman Trophy in 2002, it has made donations in excess of $6.5 million to over 250 charities throughout the country. The Heisman Humanitarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize those in the world of sports who give significantly of themselves to serve their communities and to improve the lives of others.
Robinson is one of basketball’s all-time greats, with an impressive collection of achievements, including winning the Wooden and Naismith Awards while playing at the Naval Academy, two NBA Championships with the San Antonio Spurs, playing on the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team,” and a ten-time NBA All-Star. His philanthropy began in 1991 at Gates Elementary School in San Antonio, when he offered a $2,000 scholarship to every fifth grader who finished high school and attended college. He kept true to his promise, and, in 1998, quadrupled his donation and gave $8,000 to each of those students who received their diploma.
Soon after his initial promise to the students, Robinson and his wife, Valerie, founded the David Robinson Foundation. In addition to supporting various initiatives that assist children and families in need, the Foundation initially donated $9 million to help create and sustain the Carver Academy, a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade independent school designed to serve the underserved population of East San Antonio. It has since become a part of the IDEA Public School charter network and represents the beginning of their San Antonio presence. Twelve years after the opening of the Academy, Robinson remains active with IDEA and its plans to build twenty new schools in the San Antonio area over the next six years.
“This December, the Trust is both proud and pleased to honor David Robinson, whose efforts have positively impacted thousands of people,” said William J. Dockery, Heisman Trophy Trust President. “The Heisman Humanitarian Award was created to not only recognize and honor individuals who give selflessly of themselves to assist underserved segments of our society, but also to encourage others to emulate the Humanitarians.”
“I am truly honored by this recognition by the Heisman Trust,” said Robinson. “I will represent them and the past winners with integrity and honor.”
In addition to his clear commitment to supporting excellence in the classroom, Robinson also welcomed students into his athletic territory while playing for the Spurs. Through his Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood of Achievers program, 25 students, nominated by their teachers, were invited to each Spurs home game with a guest. Over 15,000 students attended a game due to their hard work and his generosity.
Robinson also encourages other celebrities to utilize their platform for good, starting The Admiral Center in 2008. The Center works with celebrities to find the right cause for them to use their influence to bring attention and action.
Robinson joins an incredible group of former Heisman Humanitarian winners, including: Joey Cheek, Olympic speed skating gold medalist, for his dedication and contributions to the children of Darfur; George Martin, former defensive end of The New York Giants, who walked across America to raise funds for rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero after 9/11; Pat LaFontaine, former NHL star who, through his Companions in Courage Foundation, builds interactive playrooms in Children’s hospitals to keep young patients connected to family and friends; Mia Hamm, world-renowned soccer player, who raises funds and awareness for families needing marrow or cord blood transplants and continues to grow opportunities for young women in sports; Warrick Dunn, former NFL running back, who has provided homes for single parent families to honor his mother’s memory; Marty Lyons, University of Alabama and New York Jets defensive tackle, whose foundation fulfills the special wishes of children with terminal or life threatening illness; and Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and founder of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, which supports children battling cancer.
Tickets to the 79th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Gala are available at www.Heisman.com. The Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner is the only event during Heisman Weekend that is open to the public.