Steelers stars lend helping hand to Pittsburghers
Two Pittsburgh Steelers who have made millions on the playing field are giving back to the community.
Troy Polamalu, the Steelers safety known for his bone-crushing tackles, and his wife, Theodora, want to help injured veterans. Steelers receiver Hines Ward is supporting children's literacy.
The Polamalus and Ward have set up funds at The Pittsburgh Foundation, officials from the Downtown-based community foundation announced Monday. It's part of the Sports Outreach Initiative, a program started last year to encourage philanthropy by professional athletes.
"Pittsburgh is our home now," said Theodora Polamalu, 24, of Pine. "We spend nine months out of the year in Pittsburgh. We wanted to do something that would give back to the community but was also an institution we could trust."
The Pittsburgh Foundation manages $742 million and last year awarded $33.7 million in grants. Jim Roddey, a board member of The Pittsburgh Foundation, said establishing a fund there removes the paperwork hassle of starting a private foundation.
In addition, he said, donors can tap the foundation's staff of experts on senior citizens, children, the arts, education, human services and health to recommend worthy agencies.
The Polamalus created the Harry Panos Fund in honor of Theodora Polamalu's grandfather, a World War II veteran. He served as an artilleryman in the battles of Okinawa and Saipan.
She said her husband became interested in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan last year after he had visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital. He was inspired by a young woman about 18 or 19 years old, who had lost her limbs in combat in Iraq.
Theodora Polamalu serves on the foundation's Sports Outreach Advisory Committee. She said the family's philanthropy will probably focus on World War II veterans and those from Iraq and Afghanistan facing health problems and other issues.
"Right now, it's going to be veterans in Pittsburgh," she said. "We want this to grow throughout the United States."
Roddey, chairman of the advisory committee, praised the causes that Ward and the Polamalus are supporting.
"We have in this region one of highest concentrations of veterans anywhere in the country," he said.
Theodora Polamalu and officials at The Pittsburgh Foundation declined to say how much the athletes contributed. The foundation's 1,100 funds range in size from the minimum $10,000 to $40 million.
"It's a decent start, and it's going to be lot more," Theodora Polamalu said. "We'll be adding a significant amount to it very soon."
Ward and Troy Polamalu join Steelers offensive tackle Max Starks in the foundation's sports initiative. Roddey expects other Steelers and players from the Pirates and Penguins to join.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Steelers notebook: No-huddle gets limited use vs. Texans
- Steelers’ Pouncey, brother won’t be charged in July fracas
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Steelers film session: Watt kept under control
- Rookie Bryant sparks deep passing game for Steelers in victory