For all the work athletes put into perfecting their craft, many of them also use their influence and income to raise awareness and funds for meaningful causes. Media outlets and corporate sponsors must start featuring these stories to increase awareness, drive impact and help create a culture where giving back  —  in whatever way best suits you  —  is the norm. I wanted to share my Mount Rushmore of current Sport Philanthropists.

LeBron James

For all his accolades as an NBA Superstar, King James has been just as iconic off the court. He founded the LeBron James Family Foundation with the mission to positively impact the lives of underprivileged youth through innovative educational initiatives. In 2015, he donated $41 Million (!!!) to help send 1,000+ kids to college. Additionally, James has not been afraid to use his platform to bring attention to topics that must be discussed in this country, including during the 2016 ESPYs Awards when he spoke out on race relations and interactions with the police in the United States.

Serena Williams

The most dominant tennis player we have ever seen is also a dominant force in the community. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, she helped promote their campaign to help educate Asia’s 26 million marginalized children. She also traveled to Ghana with UNICEF to lobby for better educational opportunities for children in third-world countries.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo donated his entire Champions League bonus (over $1 Million) to charity and sold his Golden Boot Award for $1.5 million, donating the money to Palestinian school children in Gaza. As the global ambassador for Save the Children, Ronaldo is committed to working towards giving all children a better and brighter future.

John Cena

As the most-requested Make-a-Wish Foundation athlete, Cena has granted over 500 wishes to date! He has also played a critical role with the Susan G. Komen organization to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer, acting as as the Grand Marshal for the 2014 Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure. By selling the pink shirts he wears in the ring between September and November every year, Cena has helped raise of $1 Million for the Komen Foundation.

Read the full article about the Mount Rushmore of philanthropic athletes by Charles Lerner at