On Wednesday, January 5, Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, matched the second-highest donation to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s GoFundMe charity toy drive. In response to the medical incident Hamlin suffered in the Week 17 Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL community responded in waves by donating to Hamlin’s GoFundMe which supports his Chasing M’s Foundation, looking for a way to give back to the player and show their own support for Hamlin.
Irsay matched the largest donation to Hamlin with a sum of $25,003, as announced by Colts.com. Irsay joined other NFL owners like Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, and countless of NFL players including Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, as reported by NFL Networks Ian Rapoport.
Damar Hamlin’s ‘Chasing M’s Foundation’ Has Now Raised Over $8 Million Since On-Field Collapse
Hamlin, the second-year safety, suffered a cardiac event on the field Monday, January 4, in the first quarter of the contest and was transported to UC Medical Center for treatment. While he remains in critical condition, Hamlin’s progress has been positive as reported by the Buffalo Bills. In a tweet on January 7, the Bills announced that Hamlin “continues to breathe on his own and his neurological function is excellent”
The original goal for Hamlin’s GoFundMe was $2,500.00 and was created in 2020 by Hamlin to support his Chasing M’s Foundation where donations would be used “as a vehicle to bring lasting impact to his community.” Going into Monday night, the GoFundMe was sitting at a little over $3,000.00, and in response to the medical incident on the field, the GoFundMe was rediscovered by the NFL Community and donations from around the globe began to pour in. As of Sunday, January 8, Hamlin’s GoFundMe has surpassed over $8 million in donations.
“As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me,” Hamlin wrote. The NFL community responded in kind.
Jim Irsay’s Charitable Efforts
Irsay is no stranger to giving back. On November 20, 2022, during the Colts game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Irsay and the Colts gave a $1 million donation to the Indianapolis Zoo.
“The Indianapolis Zoo is a world leader in wildlife and natural conservation and oversees efforts and projects that are truly making a difference across the globe, not only is the zoo making great strides to preserve nature around the world, but it also provides world-class educational and entertainment opportunities for the entire Indianapolis community and makes our city an even better place to call home.” Irsay said in a statement to WTHR Channel 13 of Indianapolis. The donation will be used for the newly renovated welcoming center and is slated to open on Memorial Day 2024.
In December of 2021, Irsay made one of his largest donations ever, with a $3 million donation as reported by the Associated Press. The donation will go to funding a new mental health research center at Indiana University (Bloomington).
“Indiana University already has been one of the world’s leaders in studying mental health, and we’re so pleased this outstanding resource is in our home state so together we can advance this important conversation.” Irsay said in a statement.
Irsay has long been one of the most philanthropic owners in the NFL, and his support for Hamlin stands out as another prime example.