Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos' genuflecting quarterback, has been the answer to his charity's prayers.
The Tim Tebow Foundation will raise enough money to meet its $2.5 million annual budget by March or April -- several months ahead of its June 30 fiscal year's end, foundation president Erik Dellenback said.
Donations have doubled since Tebow took over as quarterback and guided the Broncos to eight victories, including a playoff win over Pittsburgh last weekend, Dellenback said. Denver faces New England on Saturday.
The foundation has collected more donations over the last four months of the NFL season than the previous eight months. As Tebowmania has gained steam, the rate of donations has accelerated. "Obviously over the last month we've had a great uptick in donations," Dellenback said.
Immediately following Tebow's heroics in Denver's overtime playoff win over the Steelers, donations for the foundation's Team Tebow program multiplied. For $25, donors get a Team Tebow T-shirt, car decal and information on where to volunteer at a foundation community function.
"Before the game, we had done 100 people," Dellenback said. "In 48 hours after the game, we had over 4,000 members."
Tebow pays staff salaries and administration costs out of his own pocket, leaving 100 percent of fundraising to support the foundation's outreach, Dellenback said. The foundation's initiatives include teaming up with CURE International on building a hospital named after Tebow in the Philippines, football-themed playrooms in oncology centers, orphan relief, and granting wishes for the terminally ill.
The foundation began in January 2011, so its financial records are not yet available.
Tebow's influence can also be felt in another group he has ties with, Focus on the Family. Tebow and his mother teamed up with the conservative organization to do a hotly debated anti-abortion commercial that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl.
Focus on the Family had a robust close to the year and has received more attention because of Tebow's success, spokesman Gary Schneeberger said. But the quarterback's exact influence on the bottom line was anyone's guess.
"Our giving software doesn't have a 'Because of Tim Tebow' filter," he said. "Maybe we should reconsider that, huh? -- so it's impossible to tell."
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