TCU Athletics, Tomlinson create endowment fund for student athletes

Texas Christian's LaDainian Tomlinson (5) rushes for a gain of 7 yards as Rice's LonDee Smith (36) tackles him during the first quarter Saturday, Oct. 23, 1999, in Houston. Tomlinson, the nation's leading rusher, carried 19 times for 133 yards to increase his season total to 1,193 yards. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

TCU Athletics and Horned Frogs and pro football legend LaDainian Tomlinson announced the creation of The Tomlinson Student-Athlete Development Endowment Fund on March 18. .

Created in alignment with TCU’s Vision in Action: Lead On strategic plan, the fund will be from private contributions at the inaugural “A Night with LT at TCU” event planned for May 16, 2019, on TCU’s campus.

“LaDainian Tomlinson epitomizes the values we hold dear to TCU and we could not be more proud to strengthen our relationship with him and his team in this joint venture,” TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeremiah Donati said. “When LT and I initially met, I was amazed how our visions for student-athlete development paralleled each other on the TCU side and with his foundation’s work. Almost immediately, we were planning this fundraising initiative around the inaugural ‘A Night with LT at TCU’ event. We both understand how critically important student-athlete development programming can be in positively shaping the lives of young men and women long after their athletic careers are over.”

Benefitting TCU’s Student-Athlete Development Department and the Team America Foundation, the fund will support student-athletes from all 21 of TCU’s sports programs to help prepare them for their lives and careers after graduation. Charitable contributions from the event will also go to directly enhance and support the Team America Foundation’s ongoing student-athlete development programs in school districts in partnership with the Disabled American Veterans and U.S. Marines.

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The core values of the Team America Foundation mirror those of the TCU Student-Athlete Development Department: character and leadership, service and engagement, community and spiritual uplift, and economic empowerment.

TCU’s Student-Athlete Development programming includes a myriad of topics ranging from leadership, networking and mentoring to personal responsibility, brand development, community outreach, time management in balancing academics and athletics, etiquette in dinner and interview settings, religious and spiritual life, mental health and overall student-athlete wellness. Additional programing is geared towards those transitioning to professional athletics careers.

Tomlinson, the first supporter of student-athlete development in its early launch, is a member of the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame and currently serves on the TCU Board of Trustees.

“Since retirement, I have been working with my team to find the very best opportunities to serve,” Tomlinson said. “One of the greatest opportunities afforded me is certainly being a Trustee. As I’m already engaged in year-round leadership development in other sectors, we are in perfect alignment with TCU’s student-athlete development programs and ultimately support TCU’s Lead On initiative. I look forward to our teams working closely to help build elite citizens year-round. We have to train these young leaders how to do what we are asking them to do. Leadership is developed year-round, not in retreats or semesters. We have the opportunity to lead the nation, and I intend to help ensure we do just that through this partnership.”

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For the last three years, Tomlinson has served as one of four selectors on the NFL’s finalist selection committee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He is a founding board member for Start Up Waco, a part of Team America’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, board member for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, Chairman of the Team America Foundation, Chairman & CEO of the Tomlinson Center for Leadership, an Ambassador for the Disabled American Veterans, partner for the U.S. Marine Corps’ City Partnership program, an analyst for the NFL Network and Special Assistant to the Owner for Community Engagement with the Los Angeles Chargers.