Touchdowns for Kids 1

Legendary running back LaDainian Tomlinson teams up with TCU and the Boys and Girls Club for an all-star charity effort.

As a star running back at TCU, LaDainian Tomlinson left a mark on Fort Worth that will not be soon forgotten. Before his arrival, the Horned Frogs had appeared in only a single bowl game in the previous 12 years. In LT’s sophomore season, he helped his team achieve its first bowl victory in over four decades. During the next year, LT broke out into the national consciousness, as he set a single-game rushing record and ended the season as the NCAA leader in overall rushing yards.

LT’s achievements in 2000, his final season at TCU, went even further: 2,158 rushing yards, 22 touchdowns, Heisman Trophy finalist and unanimous first-team All-American. The Doak Walker Award, given annually to the best college running back, served as the capstone for an unforgettable year. TCU was suddenly on the national radar — where it remains to this day. Luckily for Fort Worth, LaDainian Tomlinson’s contributions to the city did not stop there.

After a stellar NFL career, Mr. Tomlinson returned and made his residence in the Fort Worth area. To benefit his adopted city, LT has turned his attention to a host of community outreach projects. Tomlinson’s Touching Lives Foundation, founded in 2004 by LT and his wife, Torsha, provides an umbrella for his charitable efforts. This fall, you can partner with LT in an exciting effort to transform young lives: the LT Purple Zone Campaign, a fundraising project by Tomlinson’s Touching Lives Foundation for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth.

LT has a deeply rooted connection with the Boys & Girls Club, and has worked with the Fort Worth chapter on a variety of projects. Daphne Stigliano, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth, credits LT’s support to the football star’s own formative experiences.

“LT attended a Boys & Girls Club himself while growing up in the Waco area,” says Daphne. “As a young man, he first started learning about athletics at the club, and attributes a lot of what he internalized about character and decision-making to the club.”

The Boys & Girls Club’s lessons served Mr. Tomlinson well. An article of this length can hardly summarize LT’s accomplishments on the field; suffice to say, his 11-year NFL career saw him craft a legacy as one of the greatest running backs of the past 20 years, with two rushing titles and five Pro Bowl appearances. In 2015, LT became just the fourth person to have his jersey and number retired by the San Diego Chargers. Far from letting such achievements skew his worldview, LT decided early that success meant nothing unless he could help those around him.

“As LT had more and more success, he always pointed the way back to the people who helped him,” says Daphne. “He has been very eager to raise awareness and funding for the Boys & Girls Club in Fort Worth.”

Founded in 1926, the Boys and Girls Club has provided underprivileged young people with access to after-school and summer programs, and provides help with academics and the opportunity to experience athletics and the arts in a structured, healthy environment. Good character traits and citizenship principles get emphasized, and beneficiaries of the program have higher rates of high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment.

To raise funds for the worthwhile efforts of the Boys & Girls Club, LT and his team seek to capitalize on another object of Fort Worth’s devotion: TCU football. Throughout the 2016-2017 season, participants in the LT Purple Zone Campaign will donate money for every touchdown that the mighty Horned Frogs score. Sponsors choose their donation amount, with prizes and meet-and-greet opportunities available at different levels of sponsorship.

“If you happen to be a fan of LT or TCU football, this is a great opportunity to make a difference in your community,” says Daphne. “We’re hoping for a great offensive season from TCU, and with the LT Purple Zone Campaign, you can root for TCU and raise some money for our kids.”

In addition to individual sponsorship opportunities for fans, the LT Purple Zone Campaign has promotional possibilities for corporate sponsors. Community-minded business owners can benefit the Boys & Girls Club — which last year served over 11,000 local kids — and gain exposure through promotional materials supported by Fox Sports Southwest, TCU and the Boys & Girls Club itself. For more information, or to choose a sponsorship level that works for you, visit www.ltpurplezone.com.