Giving Stories, Mighty Blog

Football fans donate $221,143 to Child Life program at Children’s Minnesota

We at Children’s Minnesota are overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and the kindness of Thomas Morstead, punter for the New Orleans Saints and founder of the What You Give Will Grow (WYGWG) foundation.

Following last week’s dramatic game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints, a Vikings fan published a post on Reddit encouraging fellow fans to donate to WYGWG in honor of Morstead’s effort in the game, particularly the sportsmanship he demonstrated in returning to the field despite injuring his ribs in the first quarter. On Monday, January 15, Morstead announced that all donations received this week will go to the Child Life Program at Children’s Minnesota as a thank you for the support.

The initial goal of $25,000 was quickly surpassed as fans from both cities voiced their support through social media. Within 48 hours, more than $100,000 in donations had poured in. The campaign closed today with a total of $221,143.00 raised for Children’s Minnesota.

“It’s difficult to put into words the gratitude that our entire Child Life department and organization is feeling,” wrote Joy Johnson-Lind, senior director of child and family services, in a letter to Morstead. “You have set a remarkable example about giving, about spreading optimism and positivity, and that the world is indeed a better place when we work together.”

Our patients and staff channeled their inner “Skoldiers” to say thank you with a video:

“What You Give Will Grow was built on the thought that giving back, at any level, makes a difference not only to those receiving the gesture, but in regards to inspiring others to do the same,” said Morstead in a press release. “It’s humbling to have fans from an opposing team doing something like this – it just shows that football is more than a game and it really is a community. Minnesota fans had no idea when they made donations that it would come back to their own community – but what you give does really grow and we’re honored to be able to support the Child Life program at Children’s Minnesota.”

Floored by the donations we received, we chose to close the campaign early and ask donors to pay it forward by giving to child life programs in Louisiana — Saints territory — also through Morstead’s foundation. Learn more or donate at What You Give Will Grow.

We at Children’s Minnesota gratefully welcome donations throughout the year. As a non-profit, we rely on charitable giving from generous donors to provide care and special services to support the most amazing people on earth. Donate here.

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Rachel Patterson