Benjamin Watson has been invested in his community ever since his NFL career began in 2004.
A first-round draft pick of the New England Patriots that year, the longtime tight end is a repeat Walter Payton Man of the Year Award finalist for his steady commitment to local charities. This year, with almost 15 years of NFL service under his belt, the New Orleans Saints veteran is ramping up his contributions while paying tribute to all the communities he’s touched over the course of more than a decade.
Watson took to Instagram this week to announce a “#FreedomFriday” initiative — over the next 15 weeks he will highlight one of the charities or organizations he’s encountered, recognizing a different one each week and then honoring it with a $5,000 donation.
Fresh off a criminal-justice listening tour with fellow Saint Demario Davis and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Watson has spent time in four different cities during his career. After six years with the Patriots, he spent three years in Cleveland with the Browns, then three in New Orleans and two in Baltimore with the Ravens before re-signing with the Saints this offseason. Along the way, he noted on Instagram, he’s “had the great pleasure of joining hands with countless organizations committed to serving humanity domestic and abroad.”
Out of gratitude for the organizations, Watson has pledged to highlight each charity’s “perseverance and dedication by sharing their work with the masses and by donating $5,000 to each” for a total of $75,000 over 15 weeks.
His motivation for the repayment, he shared, stems from the Bible. A devout Christian whose faith has driven him to service throughout his career, Watson cited Galatians 5:13 as evidence for giving back:
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Over the last 15 years, in every city we have called home, I have had the great pleasure of joining hands with countless organizations committed to serving humanity domestic and abroad. In gratitude, I’m excited to announce that for next 15 weeks, one of these charities will be highlighted in what I will be calling #FreedomFriday. Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” True freedom is that which is spent for the uplifting of OTHERS. In a variety of different causes, the people in each of these organizations are tirelessly working to free people from physical, emotional and spiritual bondage, removing seen and unseen obstacles so that they are free to reach their fullest potential. My goal is to thank them for their perseverance and dedication by sharing their work with the masses and by donating $5,000 to each #FreedomFriday honoree. My hope is that you will LEARN about each cause, multiply our gift by DONATING each Friday to the chosen non profit through the links provided and commit to VOLUNTEER if able. Thank you in advance for your participation and for your willingness to serve one another! Stay tuned!
“My hope is that you will learn about each cause, multiply our gift by donating each Friday to the chosen nonprofit … and commit to volunteer if able,” Watson concluded. “Thank you in advance for your participation and for your willingness to serve one another!”
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