For the third consecutive season, quarterback Drew Stanton has been selected as the Detroit Lions’ Robert Porcher Man of the Year, an award that recognizes off-the-field community service. Stanton is one of 32 finalists, one from each NFL team, who receives $1,000 for his foundation and is a finalist for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year honor.
In his fifth season in the NFL, Stanton has established his own foundation and is a leader in charity work in his home state of Michigan. The High 5ive Foundation is a 501c3 organization that Stanton established in 2008. The main focus of his foundation is to support programs at Special Olympics and Children’s Miracle Network. He has been heavily involved with both organizations since his collegiate career at Michigan State University.
Special Olympics is an organization Stanton worked with during his playing days at MSU and continues to expand his relationship with. He has worked with Michigan summer and winter games, speaking and handing out medals at the summer games and being the emcee for the past two winter games.
Stanton donates 40 tickets for every Lions’ home game through the Lions’ CATS (Caring Athletes Ticket Service) for Kids program. For every home game, Children’s Miracle Network, Orchards Children’s Services, and Special Olympics all receive tickets. The children receive tickets to the game, a meal during the game, and a welcome message on the video board.
Stanton is also very involved in assisting and supporting the Dearborn Animal Shelter. He has participated in the last four Detroit Lions’ Pet Calendar for which all proceeds from the sale of the calendars benefit the Dearborn Animal Shelter. He also has helped the shelter with PSA’s for various events, participated in their annual Mutt Strut, and he and his wife have been honorary chairs for their annual Black Tie Gala 3 years running.
In 2010 and again in 2011, the High 5ive Foundation assisted Orchards Children’s Services over the holidays. Stanton hosted a charity event at a local pizzeria. Proceeds from the restaurant that night, plus a live and silent auction, were used by Stanton, Nate Burleson and other teammates to take 100 kids from Orchard’s Children Services on a holiday shopping spree.
Stanton hosted the 2010 and 2011 Cystic Fibrosis Golf Outing in Michigan to help raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. He and his foundation ran the tournament in Lansing raising more than $50,000 a year.
Stanton, his wife and family continue to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the Detroit Rescue Mission on Thanksgiving Day following the Lions’ annual Thanksgiving Day game. He spends time reading to students at many schools, attends charity golf outings, makes hospital visits, speaks at athletic banquets, at school assemblies, and participates in reading days and activities. Stanton participates in all of the Lions’ team community activities. He has helped with Play 60 events, participated in Jump Rope for Heart with the American Heart Association and other fitness activities for youth. As a part of his many hospital visits, Stanton has partnered with Detroit Popcorn to put on movie nights at Beaumont Hospital through the Children’s Miracle Network.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced live on FOX before Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012. The prestigious award was renamed in 1999 for the legendary Chicago Bears Pro Football Hall of Fame running back. The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award has been given annually since 1970.