Photos by David Helwani
“We provide future leaders with the essential tools they need to succeed.”
Each month we highlight a community program that aligns with the values of SoulVision Magazine. We believe engaging with one’s community is critical to fostering positive change in the world.
NFL veteran Antoine Bethea gives back to the community that made him a success. As a Newport News, Virginia, native, Antoine was heartbroken that many families within the community were on the verge of losing their homes. So, he took action. His foundation, Bethea Family Foundation, launched Safe Cover, an initiative that recently hosted a 21-day rent relief fundraiser for families in Newport News, Hampton, and Norfolk, Virginia. He set the goal at $100,000 and donated $10,000 to get the ball rolling. The fundraiser has now raised $57,546.
Antoine and his wife, Samantha Bethea, started the foundation to inspire, enrich, and expose youth to opportunities that they could only imagine. “My family foundation focuses on engaging with the community, school, and other organizations to help students who are underserved obtain higher learning,” he explains. The Bethea Family Foundation also has a scholarship fund. The scholarship fund is need-based. The scholarship allows two Newport News Public School District high school seniors the opportunity to fulfill their higher education dreams.
Antoine knows how it feels to be underestimated. No Division I or II schools offered him a football scholarship due to his height and weight. He was 5 feet 11 and weighed 170 pounds. He enrolled at Howard University. Without a football scholarship, he was a walk-on and played as a safety. Through grit and a determined spirit, Antoine went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts, winning a Super Bowl. He played for the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals where he earned three Pro Bowl selections.
In 2018, the Arizona Cardinals named Antoine the Walter Payton Man of the Year in recognition of his passion for philanthropy and community service. Antoine believes it is his job to use his platform to uplift the community that made him the success he is today. “I’m continuing to grow, lead and inspire the folks around me one day at a time,” he says.