Skip to main content

Brett Favre’s charity donated money to Southern Mississippi Athletics

Brett Favre’s ‘Favre 4 Hope’ charity, which was created to support ‘underprivileged and disabled children and breast cancer patients,’ has donated more than $130,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation from 2018 to 2020, tax records obtained by athleticism and ESPN To display.

At the same time, the Hall of Fame quarterback was trying to raise money for a new college volleyball stadium where he played football and where his daughter was a member of the volleyball team. Funding for the stadium is under investigation in a state welfare scandal involving tens of millions of dollars.

Brett Favre is the face of a scandal, but Mississippi’s problems go deeper

Favre 4 Hope, which receives donations from the public, reportedly donated $60,000 to the USM Athletic Foundation in 2018, while the charity’s other beneficiaries received $10,000 each. The USM Athletic Foundation received $46,817 in 2019, with Special Olympics Mississippi receiving $11,000, the second highest donation. In 2020, the USM Athletic Foundation received $26,175 from Favre 4 Hope, and no other organization received more than $10,000.

According to records, between 2011 and 2017 (the year Favre’s daughter, Breleigh, enrolled in school), Favre 4 Hope gave The Athletic Foundation a total of $47,900. (Tax records were not available for 2016.) When Breleigh Favre played volleyball at Oak Grove High in 2015, her foundation reportedly donated $60,000 to the school’s booster club. The booster club received $10,000 in 2013.

“He’s been very generous to Southern Miss since he played ball there,” Favre’s attorney, Bud Holmes, told ESPN. “These things in particular, I don’t know about them, but I know he always gave back, which most athletes don’t do.”

From May: Brett Favre sued by the State of Mississippi for welfare expenses

The documents don’t show whether any conditions were placed on the USM Athletic Foundation or the Oak Grove Booster Club, but experts questioned whether the money was in line with Favre 4 Hope’s stated mission.

“There’s the letter of the law, there’s the spirit of the law, and it’s something that it would probably be difficult to complain about, but it still doesn’t look good,” Rick Cohen , chief operating officer of the National Council of Nonprofits, told Athletic. “It’s not uncommon for a nonprofit to expand its mission or change its mission over time if it finds it needs to refocus. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. »

The spiraling welfare case has embroiled former state governor Favre and professional wrestlers among others, and although Favre has only been tied to a small fraction of the money from the government that would have been misused by state officials, he became a public face. of the scandal. During his 20-year NFL career, he earned some $140 million and millions more in endorsement deals.

Favre received $1.1 million earmarked for welfare recipients in exchange for speeches and appearances the state auditor says he never made, and text messages included in court documents show that Favre was heavily involved in discussions that resulted in $5 million in welfare for the construction of the volleyball facility.

He is among the subjects of a civil lawsuit filed by the State of Mississippi, but has not been criminally charged. He has denied any wrongdoing and returned $1.1 million to the state, which says he owes $228,000 in interest on the money.

Favre and his wife, Deanna, started Favre 4 Hope, which was first called the Brett L. Favre Foundation, in 1995, the quarterback’s fourth season with the Green Bay Packers, and paid money, among other charities, to Boys & Girls. Clubs of Green Bay and Gulfport, Miss., and Gaits To Success, an equine therapy program in Favre’s hometown of Kiln, Miss. In the charity’s first decade-plus, Athletic said it donated small amounts to a large number of beneficiaries. In 2007, 44 organizations received grants, including 19 of $5,000 or less. As of 2009, the list of charities never exceeded 14, and the size of donations increased.

A year after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2004, Deanna Favre launched her own foundation, which merged with Favre’s to form Favre 4 Hope. His mission statement added breast cancer patients and included Minnesota, where Favre played his last two NFL seasons, as an area of ​​focus.