When I first launched Pro Cause I wrote about athletes that quietly support charitable causes with little notoriety. George Steinbrenner used to say that if more than two people know about an act of kindness between one person and another, that’s one too many.
Mariano Rivera has followed Mr. Steinbrenner’s example. His foundation and charitable work, while not anonymous, are certainly discreet. Per the foundation web site, the Mariano Rivera Foundation currently supports at least two “computer houses” in underprivileged areas in Mariano’s native Panama and restored a Christian church, including creating a community center in New Rochelle, NY. (There are a number of additional local events the foundation supports not listed on the site. Like I said, discreet.)
Mariano gave a rare glimpse into the story behind his foundation in a terrific interview with Gotham Magazine this week:
The foundation started like this. We were making good money. Whatever I made was tithed to a church I was a member of—10 percent of my salary. I was giving a lot of money, so I decided to put this into a fund so we could help many churches, many people, in need. The foundation was just private—my wife and I, we did it alone.
I noted that Mariano’s new presence on Twitter back in October would increase engagement with his foundation (thanks for the RT Mariano):
— Pro Cause (@procause) October 28, 2011
Mariano Rivera is a devout Christian – much of his charitable work manifests itself through his church. His baseball glove is famously inscribed with Philippians 4:13:
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”
When you listen to Mariano’s perspective on his faith in God as a baseball player it certainly gives context to his charitable work. He recently spoke to the Tampa Bay Tribune about his pitching, specifically the famous cutter:
No one taught me that pitch. No one grabbed me and told me how to throw the cutter, no man — no one but God. It belongs to the Lord.
A Beautiful Thing
There is rampant speculation about Mariano Rivera’s retirement after the 2012 season. My suggestion to baseball fans everywhere is not to worry about it. Just sit back and enjoy the great Mo Rivera: master pitcher and eloquent statesman of the game. He’s all heart and one of the Yankees’ all-time greatest players. A delight for baseball fans and a model of stoic generosity. Enjoy.
Featured image courtesy US Presswire