Saquon Barkley, the multifaceted talent of the New York Giants, stands out not just on the football field but also for his philanthropic endeavors. He’s been selected as the Giants’ nominee for the esteemed Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. This prestigious accolade recognizes NFL players who exhibit excellence on the field and display a profound commitment to making a lasting positive impact within their communities.
All 32 club nominees, including Barkley, will sport a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year helmet decal through the remainder of the season. The final announcement of the winner will take place during NFL Honors, a prime-time awards special, airing on Thursday, February 8. Barkley, the Giants’ nominee for the second consecutive year, aims to follow in the footsteps of Eli Manning (2016), the sole Giants player to have claimed this honor.
The significance of this award extends beyond recognition, as each nominee is set to receive up to a $55,000 donation, while the ultimate award recipient will be granted a substantial $250,000 donation for the charity of their choice.
“I want to make sure that with the time I have playing in the NFL and on this earth, I try to make a change, try to make an impact on someone’s life and fulfill my purpose,” Barkley expressed, emphasizing the core motivation behind his charitable pursuits.
Barkley’s commitment to philanthropy stems from personal experience. Having faced homelessness during his childhood, Barkley holds a deep-seated connection to two local charities dedicated to supporting young individuals in similar circumstances.
The star athlete has been a driving force behind raising $7 million for Covenant House New Jersey over the past five years. He serves as the celebrity chairman for their annual “Sleep Out: Executive Edition” fundraiser, propelling the event’s fundraising success from $750,000 to $1.6 million. Notably, this year’s Sleep Out is scheduled for Thursday, December 7 at MetLife Stadium.
Reflecting on his past, Barkley remarked, “Knowing now, I can understand how someone who cares about you and someone who wants to help and someone who wants to make change, I know how much that impacted my life… I want to do the same for others.”
Beyond Covenant House, Barkley is deeply involved with Children of Promise NYC, a nonprofit aiding children affected by familial incarceration. His contributions range from sponsoring summer trips to surprising kids in the Bronx with winter coats, with plans for hosting a December holiday party for children in Brooklyn.
Moreover, Barkley prioritizes fostering personal connections by inviting children and staff members from Covenant House New Jersey and Children of Promise NYC to Giants home games. He spends quality time with them both pre-game on the sidelines and post-game in the locker room, aiming to bring joy and support to their lives.
“I’m just happy that I’m able [to do] something so small as bring them to a football game on Sunday and it can go a long way,” Barkley stated, emphasizing the impact of these interactions.
His philanthropic efforts extend to organizing a free football camp for kids in Jersey City and contributing to the St. Luke’s Youth Football Camp in Whitehall, Pa., through his Michael Ann & Saquon Barkley Hope Foundation.
Barkley’s multifaceted approach to philanthropy embodies the essence of hope, reflecting his belief that hard work, dedication, and the right support can transform lives. Fans have the opportunity to contribute as well through the annual Charity Challenge, casting their support for Barkley via social media or NFL.com/ManOfTheYear.
The narrative of Saquon Barkley extends far beyond the gridiron. His commitment to making a difference off the field stands as a testament to the power of empathy and the capacity of sports stars to effect genuine change in the world around them.