College Linebacker Uses Name, Image, and Likeness to Assist Children in Need Around the World
October 18, 2021
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — College football players have fans across America. These athletes are lauded as role models and influencers to young and old alike. It was only recently, however, that the NCAA allowed these athletes to achieve financial gain via their own name, image, and likeness (NIL). For most, this means getting a sponsorship from large corporations for individual income. But for others, the ability to promote something other than their college or university creates opportunities to help those in need.
JoJo Domann, a standout linebacker for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, is utilizing this new opportunity not for personal profit, but to help others in need. Domann partnered with Edgewater Insurance + Real Estate to create the “Husker Heartbeat Giveback,” which is donating funds to 12 handpicked charities. One of the chosen charities is Compassion International’s unique Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative, which provides essential food, medical care, and support to hurting children. After Nebraska’s October 16 game against the Minnesota Golder Gophers, Domann and the “Husker Heartbeat Giveback” donated a portion of their funds to help “fill the stadium” and reach impoverished children and families around the world.
Compassion’s CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado is determined to achieve Fill the Stadium’sgoal of helping all 70,000 children in crisis and has so far raised $33 million for over 66,000 kids and their families—but they must still “fill the stadium” and reach all 70,000 kids at grave risk of hunger, or worse.
Domann says of the effort, “While growing up in Colorado Springs, I had heard about Compassion’s work in giving to kids in need. In 2018, while attending a concert in Omaha, I sponsored a child, and that’s when Compassion really became part of my life and I felt called in that moment.” Domann’s sponsored child through Compassion isa boy named Vincent in Togo, Africa. Domann has continued to sponsor Vincent, now ten years old, and is encouraging others to take action and help children just like him all around the world.
“We take for granted how much we have in America and how blessed we are with resources, roofs over our heads, and running water. My heart dropped when I learned how other young people live—human beings just like us who live in such a different reality. I want to do anything possible to help make their lives better—and at this point, helping with financial resources is what I can do.”
Compassion’s CEO Jimmy Mellado says, “We are committed to caring for 70,000 children who were not sponsored due to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s enough children to fill the average NFL football stadium. At Compassion, we believe the empty stadiums at football games last season were a sobering reminder of all those who still need essential food, health care, and support as this crisis continues.”
Fill the Stadium is proud to see a young athlete step up to the mission and pledge help for suffering children.
After a year of canceled games and vacant stadiums because of the pandemic, the image of an empty stadium is one that all athletes and fans can relate to—and as satisfying as it is to see football stadiums now filled in this current season, it is even more important to ensure that Compassion’s “stadium” is completely filled.
“We have all experienced the reality of empty stadiums,” says the Fill the Stadium team. “The average NFL stadium holds 70,000 seats. We need to reach that many kids. This effort desperately needs a caring, prayerful, and thoughtful community to join together in this critical relief.”
Those holding co-leadership roles in this charitable team effort are Alyssa Naeher, a member of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team (which won a Bronze Medal in Tokyo); Nick Foles, professional football MVP quarterback; Adam Engel of the Chicago White Sox; Sam Burns, PGA TOUR golfer; Nick Ahmed of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Carson Palmer, former professional quarterback; Devin and Jason McCourty, NFL defensive backs; Aaron Kampman, former NFL defensive end; Nate Solder of the New York Giants; Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes; Brock Huard, FOX sports broadcaster and former professional quarterback; and many others. Steve Stenstrom, president of Pro Athletes Outreach, is also playing a lead role.
Founded in 1952,Compassion International is a Christian child development organization that works to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Compassion revolutionized the fight against global poverty by working exclusively with the Church to lift children out of spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. Compassion partners with more than 8,000 churches in 25 countries to deliver its holistic child development program to over 2 million babies, children, and young adults. Its child sponsorship program has been validated through independent, empirical research.
To interview Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, president and CEO of Compassion International, or another Fill the Stadium spokesperson, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.