In his fourth year season in the NFL, Stanton has established his own foundation and is a leader in charity work in his home state of Michigan.
The High 5ive Foundation is a 501c3 organization that Stanton established in 2008. The main focus of his foundation is to support programs at Special Olympics and Children’s Miracle Network. Stanton has been heavily involved with both organizations since his collegiate career at Michigan State University. In the past year, he has expanded his reach to many other organizations including Cystic Fibrosis and Orchard Children’s Services.
Special Olympics is an organization Stanton worked with during his playing days at Michigan State and he continues his relationship with them. He has assisted with the Michigan summer and winter games, speaking and handing out medals at the summer games in Mt. Pleasant and being the emcee for the past three winter games in Traverse City.
Stanton donates 36 tickets for every Lions’ home game through the Lions’ CATS (Caring Athletes Ticket Service) for Kids program. Organizations that receive tickets to each game are Children’s Miracle Network, Special Olympics and Orchard Children’s Services. The children receive tickets to the game, a meal during the game, and a welcome message on the video board.
This season Stanton started hosting “Movie Night” at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak through Children’s Miracle Network. The kids are treated to Monday night movies with Stanton and popcorn and treats from the Detroit Popcorn Company. In addition, he makes special visits to the kids in the hospital on Tuesdays.
Each summer, Stanton hosts the High 5ive Foundation Celebrity Golf Outing in East Lansing to help raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. He and his foundation run the tournament and several current and former Lions and Spartans attend the event.
Stanton is also very involved in assisting and supporting the Dearborn Animal Shelter. He has participated in the Detroit Lions’ Pet Calendar since his first year with the Lions, for which all proceeds from the sale of the calendars benefit the Dearborn Animal Shelter. He also has helped the shelter with PSA’s for various events, participated in their annual Mutt Strut and he and his wife Kristin were honorary chairs for their annual Black Tie Gala in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
This year Stanton added a new event to his already busy calendar. His foundation raised $10,000 to take 100 children from Orchard Children’s Services on a holiday shopping spree. He and his wife Kristin, along with several Lions’ players will have a holiday dinner and then take the children shopping at Target. Each child will receive $100 gift card at Target to spend on their shopping spree.
Stanton, his wife and family annually serve dinner at the Detroit Rescue Mission on Thanksgiving Day following the Lions’ annual Thanksgiving Day game. Stanton also reads to students at schools, attends charity golf outings, makes hospital visits, speaks at athletic banquets and school assemblies, hosts football camps and serves meals at homeless shelters. Stanton participates in all of the Lions’ team community activities. He has helped with Play 60 events, participated in Jump Rope for Heart with the American Heart Association and other fitness activities for youth.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be announced live on FOX before Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011. The prestigious award was renamed in 1999 for the legendary Chicago Bears Pro Football Hall of Fame running back. The Walter Payton Man of the Year Award has been given annually since 1970.