The Buccaneers’ playoff hopes may be fading, but wide receiver Mike Evans is doing his best to spread Christmas cheer in spite of the team’s difficulties. On Monday, Evans realized a lifelong dream by launching his new non-profit organization, the Mike Evans Family Foundation. The foundation provides college scholarships for underprivileged teenagers and support for victims of domestic violence. Evans and his wife Ashli kicked off a three-day Catch for Christmas event this week to raise money for their new non-profit.
Evans, who grew up in Galveston, Texas, witnessed the results of domestic violence firsthand in his own family. He attended Ball High School where he excelled at basketball and dabbled in football. Texas A&M University then offered him a football scholarship, a school Evans say he never would have been able to afford on his own. After an impressive two-year stint on the Aggies, Evans was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2014. Now in his fourth season on the Buccaneers, Evans is ready to give back to the communities that helped him achieve his dreams. His new foundation will help people in both his hometown of Galveston and in his adopted city of Tampa.
The Evans family kicked off their Catch for Christmas event on Monday with a fundraising dinner at 717 South. The event was attended by such luminaries as Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Evans was also supported by teammates like Jameis Winston. Part of the proceeds of the fundraising dinner will go to the Spring of Tampa Bay, a local domestic violence shelter. On Tuesday, Evans and his wife visited the shelter for a private dinner with survivors.
In the last stage of the foundation’s holiday event, Evans invited 15 children from Sulphur Springs Elementary to the team’s headquarters at One Buccaneer Place. The children knew they were being given a tour, but learned to their surprise that the famous wide receiver and his wife would be their guides. Evans told the children jokes, juggled and gave them Christmas gifts.
Evans is not the only Buccaneer to have a charitable foundation. Former teammate Vincent Jackson has his Jackson in Action 83 Foundation to benefit military families, and Jameis Winston launched his Dream Forever Foundation earlier this year. Although the Mike Evans Family Foundation is launching on small scale, Evans hopes to expand the non-profit in the coming years.