NFL star Chris Long is donating his entire year's salary to a great cause.

His $1 million salary will go to help fund education.

One of the NFL's top players won't be taking home a paycheck this season. He's doing something much better.

Now playing in his 10th season in the league, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long decided to up his charity game. At the beginning of the season, just weeks after white supremacists marched through his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, Long committed to donating his first six game checks of the season to funding scholarships for local students.

Long during the Eagles' Sept. 10, 2017, game. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.


"In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry," Long said in a press release. "Megan and I decided to try to combat those actions with our own positive investment in our community."

That same day, he teased a larger undertaking, promising to share more in coming weeks. Today, he unveiled that new project, committing his final 10 game checks to funding educational programs in the three communities he's played for during his career (Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New England), saying that he hopes it'll "inspire others to invest time, money or passion into our communities and into our kids." Long's base salary for the 2017 season is $1 million.

Long's career has been marked by the good he's done off the field as much as what he's done on it.

In 2015, Long launched the Waterboys initiative, an off-shoot of his charity, the Chris Long Foundation. Waterboys was created to bring clean drinking water to communities in rural East Africa. To date, the group has funded the creation of 26 wells. Long's foundation has also done some great work addressing homelessness, helping returning veterans get back on their feet, and providing support for youth programs.

He's also been a thoughtful, supportive voice during the controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the anthem. Asked what he thought about Colin Kaepernick's protests in 2016, he told ESPN that while he wasn't comfortable kneeling, he supported Kaepernick and other players who did.

"I play in a league that's 70 percent black and my peers, guys I come to work with, guys I respect who are very socially aware and are intellectual guys, if they identify something that they think is worth putting their reputations on the line, creating controversy, I'm going to listen to those guys," he said.

This season, he's shown solidarity with teammates Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins, who both decided to hold a raised fist during the anthem, by putting his arm around Jenkins's shoulder.

Long stands beside teammates McLeod and Jenkins during the national anthem on Oct. 8, 2017. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images.

While Long's history of charity work and allyship is hard to match, it's not entirely out of the ordinary.

"What good does kneeling do?" asked some observers of the recent protests. "If these spoiled millionaires REALLY wanted [to] 'improve' these communities, shouldn't they use their money [to] support and move into these communities?" asked another.

The truth is that professional athletes have been doing all the things that people suggest could be done instead of kneeling — which league officials have been trying to pressure them to abandon. Even though he's not on anyone's roster this season, Kaepernick has continued to make good on his million-dollar charity pledge, outlining his actions on his website. Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans gave his first paycheck to stadium workers affected by Hurricane Harvey. The list of thoughtful, charitable acts goes on and on.

Long's bold act of giving back to his community is more than a publicity stunt; it's a way of life that he and many of his NFL colleagues share.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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