Graham Gano and Kelvin Benjamin will hope to etch their names into the history books tomorrow night in Super Bowl 50, but, this evening, it was another former 'Nole taking to the spotlight for his work off the field. 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin was recognized as the 2015 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year at the NFL Honors ceremony held, appropriately in Boldin's case, in San Francisco. He is the third Seminole to garner this prestigious honor, joining Derrick Brooks (2000) and Warrick Dunn (2004).
The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970. It was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community.
Boldin's service is also describe on the site, and reads as follows:
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time Offensive Player of the Week Award winner and Super Bowl champion, Anquan Boldin is the prime example of what an NFL wide receiver should strive to become both on and off the field. For his leadership, effort and passion for the game, Anquan was named the 2013 Bill Walsh Award winner, given to the 49ers team MVP.
The Anquan Boldin Foundation was formed in 2004 to provide educational and life opportunities to underprivileged youth. Some of its notable programs include an eight-week Summer Enrichment Program for students to prioritize and graduate on time; Thanksgiving food drives offering over 300 meals annually; holiday shopping sprees offering over $30,000 annually to youth in Baltimore, South Florida and San Francisco; and the most popular, Q-Festival Weekend.
This fall, the Anquan Boldin Foundation distributed five (5) $10,000 scholarships to high-school graduates in Florida and San Francisco. Anquan's Annual Q-Festival raises over $100,000 annually, providing free entertainment to residents and participating fans. The foundation hosted their 11th annual Q-Festival Weekend in April 2015, featuring a celebrity golf tournament, a celebrity basketball game, a week-long community basketball tournament for all ages, a 3k Fitness Walk and Wellness Seminar, and the signature "Fun Day in the Park."
Anquan has also been involved with Oxfam America since 2010, traveling to Ethiopia and Senegal and later testifying at the White House on behalf of Senegalese rights. He initially provided over $10,000 in funding to minimize the devastation caused by the drought and hunger crisis in Ethiopia. He additionally volunteered for countless hours in Ethiopian communities and participated in public service announcements to raise awareness. After a second trip to Africa, Anquan testified as an Oxfam Ambassador before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding the gold mining industry.
In 2010, Anquan became the honorary chair of the United Way Central Maryland's Emerging Leaders United program. He has used his strong public speaking skills to share United Way's messaging and to influence other young executives to advocate for volunteerism in Maryland, Northern California and beyond. Anquan has also dedicated countless hours towards his NFL team activities each year. Most recently, he has supported the Community Monday program at the 49ers by participating in the Turning Wheels for Kids Bike Build - helping to build 150 bikes for foster youth and making the holidays brighter for under resourced youth through the 49ers Visa Shop with a Player program and more.