Reggie Howard is President and Executive Director of the United Athletes Foundation (“UAF”) a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization (. After a life-altering injury during his senior season as a collegiate football player, Reggie persevered and reached his goal of becoming an NFL player, spending five seasons with the Carolina Panthers and two seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He is a strong advocate of community service, having worked with the United Way, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, United Negro College Fund, Young Family YMCA, St. Jude Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club. Reggie is also the founder of his own initiative, the Reggie Howard Foundation, whose mission is to build self-esteem among children, teach them the value of setting goals, and give kids today a better chance at becoming the leaders of tomorrow. Reggie is a graduate of the University of Memphis where he earned a degree in Marketing/Management and achieved the “Outstanding Young Alumni Award”. He has participated in the Stanford University Entrepreneurship Program, Kellogg University Business Internship Program, Wachovia Wealth Management Internship Program and High School Coaching Internship Program. More than 150 professional athletes are associated with the UAF, including members of the NFL, NBA, MLB, WNBA and professional boxing.
The story behind the founding of UAF:
Though ultimately successful, Reggie’s path to the NFL was not without its obstacles. As a senior at the University of Memphis – his hometown – he broke his neck while making a tackle. Reggie was flown home to Memphis and had surgery the next day. On the flight back from Alabama, strapped to a stretcher and wracked with pain, he prayed. “I said, ‘God, if you give me another opportunity, I’ll use it for a greater purpose. I’ll use it for something more important than just playing football.’”
Mercifully, there was no neurological damage, and the surgery repaired his damaged fifth and sixth vertebrae. Later, his doctor would tell him that other doctors who saw the x-rays expressed amazement that Reggie was still alive.
Reggie not only survived the accident he recovered phenomenally well from the surgery. He trained hard and regained the weight lost during recuperation in time to show up at the NFL Combine, an annual event at which college players are put through drills that display their talent. So impressed was the football world by his recovery that he soon received a call from the Carolina Panthers.
He played for that team for five years, including a trip to the Super Bowl (which they lost to the Patriots), and later played for the Miami Dolphins. But hitting the big time turned out to have a dark side as well. “After two years with Miami, I found myself thinking, ‘Is this it? This is what having money is all about?’ All I could see were people trying to take advantage of me, trying to get access to things, and I actually started to lose interest in the game as a result.”
It was then that Reggie remembered the promise he had made on the stretcher as he was flown to Memphis for neck surgery. “I came back and said, ‘You know what? I want to be a giver.’ I always loved giving. I wanted to be the best at it, and I wanted to show others how to give.”
At the age of 29, Reggie decided to retire. Leaving mid-season is an unusual move for a player, he concedes, but it was a matter of following his heart, honoring his values and trusting his intuition. He reimbursed his team for his bonus money and announced that he was changing his focus to his family, his community, and his foundation, which would eventually come to be known as the UAF, based in Atlanta.
UAF is currently focused on the revitalizing neighborhoods by rebuilding homes and helping low income families manage their finances. In partnership with Baker Tilly, UAF is seeking homes to purchase and renovate in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods by providing affordable housing.
JAMES GAUMOND, Chief of Staff
James Gaumond is Chief of Staff for UAF. One of Jim’s main objectives is to create and implement UAF programs that positively impact lives.
Jim brings to UAF twenty-four years of coalition building, program development and community revitalization efforts to affect change with measurable results.
Jim leverages his legal, entrepreneurial, corporate, government & nonprofit experience to co-create, direct or support UAF service programs. Working at UAF provides Jim “the opportunity to work with a team that shares the desire and means to create programs that empower stakeholders to achieve success in life”.
Jim earned a B.S. in Psychology and Political Science from Salem College, WV 1988; J.D. degree from Widener University School of Law 1991; and an M.G.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000.
If you are interested in learning more about UAF, a particular program or event please email Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org
REGGIE HOWARD, Founder & Executive Director
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