The Noteworthy Charitable Causes of the NFL's Alumni Players

When it comes to marketing, few, if any, organizations can compete with the National Football League. Although the NFL is ostensibly an organized community of 32 sports teams, it is in fact a lucrative business garnering some $12 billion annually. That's shouldn't come as a huge surprise given that commercials take up roughly a third of every three hour NFL telecast. Nice work if you can get it!

The NFL actively supports some high-profile charities, including raising awareness for breast cancer by having its players wear pink in October and peddling pink merchandise to its fans. Supporting breast cancer is definitely a worthy cause and a great way to generate goodwill, but as Julie Dicario of Sport's Illustrated recently noted, the NFL's motivation might not be entirely altruistic. Only a small fraction of the proceeds from the sale of the NFL's pink merchandise actually goes toward cancer research.

So it's noteworthy that some of the NFL players alumni have chosen less high-profile charitable endeavors to support. One group, known as the "NFL Legends," has committed to visiting seniors in Philadelphia, Nashville, Seattle, and Denver during the Christmas season. Loneliness chronically impacts seniors as much as any disease, and human interaction is as valuable a health remedy as any medicine. A visit from a former NFL star can do wonders for anyone's psyche, particularly a senior. Details of the outreach effort can be found here.

For the past 13 years, NFL alumni have agreed to play the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team, which is comprised of men and women who were wounded while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. This year's game will be played on February 6 in San Mateo, which also is home to CareLinx, the leading online home care company I founded five years ago. San Mateo has a long history of supporting U.S. veterans, including being the only city to welcome returning Viet Nam military personnel with a parade.

The NFL's alumni is to be commended for choosing to support causes that won't generate widespread publicity but where their involvement will make a meaningful difference for the people they will interact with.