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Kind List 2021

Ciara and Russell Wilson

Their Why Not You Foundation is dedicated to empowering youth and fighting poverty through education

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara are one of the most charitable couples of our time – something that became particularly evident during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

The celebrity power couple donated one million meals to Feeding America's Food Lifeline and helped raised funds for an additional 70 million meals for Wheels Up x Meals Up.

But Russell and Ciara were dedicated philanthropists long before the world's health crisis struck. In 2014, they launched the Why Not You Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to fighting poverty through education, and empowering youth to lead with a why not you attitude.

"Russell and Ciara continue to be incredible role models for youth in our program by showing again and again that within each of us there is – as Russell put it – courage, agility, and strength" - Terri Sorensen, CEO of Friends of the Children

In September, Russell and Ciara celebrated the grand opening of the Why Not You Academy, a tuition-free charter public high school they founded alongside educational leaders Garth Reeves and Scott Canfield. Why Not You Academy supports systemically underserved students just south of Seattle by providing an innovative and tailored learning experience.

In addition to financially supporting organisations aligned with their foundation's mission, Russell and Ciara, through their foundation and in partnership with Safeway Albertsons, have raised over $9 million for paediatric cancer research and Russell has visited over 600 patients at Seattle Children's Hospital.

The couple, along with WNYF, are also founding partners of United Way’s Ride United Last Mile campaign to help eradicate hunger. The Ride United programme has resulted in 7.5 million meals delivered across the US to date.

Another of their other partnerships is with national youth mentoring organisation, Friends of the Children. Terri Sorensen, CEO of Friends of the Children, told HELLO!: "We are humbled by the generosity of Russell and Ciara. They continue to be incredible role models for youth in our program by showing again and again that within each of us there is – as Russell put it – courage, agility, and strength. We are truly grateful for the time they spend with us, and for their continued support."

Earlier this year, the couple spent a day with children from Friends of the Children L.A. on Father's Day at Disneyland Resort as part of Russell being recognised as one of 'Earth's Mightiest Athletes' at ESPN's Sports Humanitarian Awards. As part of the inaugural all-hero athlete team, Russell was selected for exhibiting the qualities of Captain America and his continued positive impact on youth empowerment.

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