“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

While every sport was thrown a curve ball for each season in 2020, many elite athletes responded to the challenges that this year brought on with their own kindness and supportive efforts to keep team spirit alive; showing leadership, initiative, and courage. Here are some athletes who are giving back in a big way. 

Jrue and Lauren Holiday

Milwaukee Bucks guard, Jrue Holiday, has pledged to donate the rest of his 2020 NBA salary to black-owned businesses, nonprofits, and city initiatives to benefit lower income communities. Lauren Holiday, former USWNT member and wife of Jrue Holiday, has partnered with multiple organizations and leaders to organize and make donations in partnership with her husband. The Covid pandemic and rising racial injustices that occurred this year were the driving force behind this generous decision. 

From Jrue’s Instagram post: “With the Covid-19 Pandemic and heightened racial injustices in 2020, many of us have been looking for answers. Lauren & I found ourselves searching for ways to help our community at a time when they needed it most. Pledging the remainder of our 2020 NBA salary to small black owned businesses, nonprofits and initiatives is how we felt we could make a lasting impact.” 

Yusra Mardini

Olympic swimmer, Yusra Mardini, was part of the first Refugee Olympic Team at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She has given hope to many across the world, and continues to inspire athletes with her efforts. Recently, Mardini organized the Yusra Mardini Swim Camp in Germany to introduce the sport of swimming to refugee children. Teaching young children how to swim is an incredibly important and useful skill and it is essential to safety. Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury to children, and Mardini is giving back to her refugee community to help end this problem and to introduce the sport and competitiveness of swimming. 

Lebron James

Lebron James is known for giving back to the community. James recently announced the concept of House Three Thirty which would be an extension of the Lebron James I Promise School for the youth of Akron, Ohio. House Three Thirty will be a resource for students and families to obtain educational tools and resources to grow independently.

In a press release, James said, “It’s another win for our families, but also a win for the city of Akron, and then for the people that are actually going to be there and see our model and hopefully they take it to another community as well.” James is always thinking about what to do next and who he can inspire next. With House Three Thirty, families all over Akron, Ohio will be able to grow, and pursue their careers. 

Sydney Clarke

Although Sydney Clarke is not a professional athlete, she has helped her community and those around her in a big way. Clarke is a member of the women’s tennis team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was awarded the Ministry of Sports’ 2020 Athlete of the Year. Clarke has organized a food and toy drive for the Bahamas Children’s Emergency Hostel. Clarke said in a recent interview, “People are always helping me, so I felt it was my duty as a citizen to step up and help in any way I can.” Although the pandemic has prohibited a lot of things, Clarke has not stopped to help those in need around her. 

No matter how big their platform, from the professional level, to collegiate level, these athletes are making a difference in the world. These athletes, among many, are a model to us all.