CB Nnamdi Asomugha poses for a photo with prospective college students near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. during the 2010 Asomugha College Tour for Students. Photo courtesy of the Asomugha Foundation.
Despite grueling schedules that leave little opportunity for non-football activities, many NFL players take time during the year to make a difference in their communities. Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the athletes who give back to those in need. Over the last few years, Asomugha has earned several national community awards, including the Jefferson Award (known as the "Nobel Prize for Public Service"), which he accepted this year in Washington DC. He has also received the Byron "Whizzer" White Award, the Presidential Service Award, the Commitment to Excellence Award and served as the Bay Area spokesman for the United Way.
In addition to his community work with the Oakland Raiders and the NFL, Asomugha recently created his own foundation, The Asomugha Foundation, to build upon his family's philanthropic efforts in the United States and Africa. "We hope to create more awareness of the issues that are out there in different communities like poverty, illiteracy, and health consciousness," explained Asomugha. "The fact is that there are people that need help in all walks of life."
CB Nnamdi Asomugha poses for a photo with prospective college students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. during the 2010 Asomugha College Tour for Students. Photo courtesy of the Asomugha Foundation.
Asomugha and his family have always been motivated to give back and have been inspired in the area of public service. They created the Asomugha Foundation to cultivate their ideas and see where the foundation would take them. The foundation focuses on two main programs, Asomugha College Tour for Students (ACTS) and Orphans and Widows in Need (OWIN). Both programs have the ultimate goal of furthering education, providing opportunities and empowering those in need. By including both programs, Asomugha can impact communities in the United States and Africa.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha poses for a photo with prospective college students outside the White House in Washington, D.C. during the 2010 Asomugha College Tour for Students. Photo courtesy of the Asomugha Foundation.
Started by Asomugha in 2007, ACTS is designed to take high-achieving high school students of color on a tour of colleges and universities all over the country. According to the foundation's website (www.asomughafoundation.org), ACTS emphasizes both higher education and collegiate experiences. During ACTS tours, students are exposed to the local campus communities, the cultural atmosphere, and current student activities. Asomugha has provided the ACTS opportunity to 36 students over the last three years.
The Asomugha Foundation also includes OWIN, started in 2005 by Nnamdi's mother, Dr. Lilian Asomugha. OWIN's efforts are currently centered in Nigeria, where the Asomugha family originated, and provides women with skills to help support their families, as well as financial, medical, and spiritual support. The website explains that "the number of young widows and orphans living in poverty and destitution has reached epidemic proportions." OWIN's goal is to help fight this international crisis.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha poses for a photo with attendees of the4th Annual OWIN Foundation Fundraising Gala. Photo courtesy of the Asomugha Foundation.
Asomugha uses his status as a professional athlete to help bring attention to the issues addressed by his foundation. "It allows me to have more access to people and resources that we wouldn't have if I hadn't made it this far," explained Asomugha. His community connections in the Bay Area and Los Angeles have helped him choose high-achieving students for ACTS trips, while his connections in Nigeria have inspired and helped him work with OWIN.
"Starting this foundation made me realize that there is a lot of work to do" explained Asomugha. "Before this foundation it was just a thought, a vision, a goal, but now that the foundation has started, I've realized that there is a lot of work and we want to make this foundation as powerful as it can be." The Asomugha Foundation has extensive goals – to impact as many as possible and make a difference all around the world. "Hopefully the Asomugha Foundation can encourage more people to get involved and ultimately make our communities better," said Asomugha.
NFL players usually leave a legacy of their skills on the field – wins and losses, touchdowns, or interceptions. Athletes such as Asomugha, who connect with and impact others, inspire change, and have passion for public service, make a case for leaving a legacy that emphasizes and includes accomplishments off the field.
Asomugha encourages all those interested in learning more about the foundation's work and are interested in getting involved to visit their website at http://www.asomughafoundation.org/.
The Asomugha foundation is working with The Oakland Raiders this season to raise money for the project. Check out this Raiders ticket program.