Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison has always been a player that is involved in charitable activities. When players have a day off on Tuesdays, you often see Robinson showing up at events for schools or terminally ill children who want to meet their Vikings heroes.
Looking to do more, this week Robison and his wife Jayme announced the launch of the Reel ’Em In Foundation, whose mission statement says that it seeks to “provide financial, emotional and physical support for those in need. The goal of the Brian Robison Reel ‘Em In Foundation is to impact the lives of more than 30,000 people by the end of 2016.”
The foundation has been in the works for a couple of years and Robison is proud to be part of something special giving back to his home state of Texas and his adopted home state of Minnesota.
“It’s been something we’ve wanted to do for a while, but we just didn’t know exactly what cause we wanted to do it for,” Robison said. “This has been a work in progress and we’ve finally been able to do it. We’re excited about the possibilities.”
As part of the foundation launch, Robison explained that he and Jayme have discussed whether to focus on a specific group for their charitable activity or to potentially spread the love around. Still in its infancy, the program has partnered with the charitable organization K9s4Cops.
The mission statement of K9s4Cops is to achieve a vision of “safe communities and schools patrolled by law enforcement with highly trained K9s ready for action. We believe that lack of funds should not be the obstacle for any agency working to keep our streets safe.”
Robison was moved by the lack of funding and felt that his newly created foundation could create awareness for the program and be the impetus to get more funding heading its way.
“They do a good job of putting trained dogs in the hands of cops as well as putting them in schools,” Robison said. “It’s a cause my wife and I both feel strongly about and they will be the first beneficiaries of the foundation events.”
Where the Reel ‘Em In Foundation goes in the future is still up in the air. Surely with its launch there will be plenty of underfunded causes that will present themselves to Robison and his foundation. If one of them rings true with his vision of the charity, it will get support. For now, everything is focused on raising as much money for K9s4Cops as possible.
After 2016? His foundation may be a free agent.
“At this point, we’re not sure,” Robison said of the long-term associations the charity will have. “We just officially started the foundation this week, so there’s a lot that’s still up in the air. We could end up having a long-term relationship with K9s4Cops or it can be something that we can rotate from year to year. We didn’t want to glue ourselves down to one thing because we’re looking for the right things that really touch us. At this point, we’ve decided to run it on a year-to-year basis with selecting charities to sponsor.”
It’s difficult for fans to equate the gravity of a Vikings player dropping in to see a child who has been dealt a brutal hand in life. They aren’t going to live long enough to have kids of their own. A visit from a Vikings player means the world for a child whose life has been dealt a death sentence.
One of the reasons the Robisons wants to distinguish themselves with a foundation of their own is seeing the good they’ve done in the hundreds of charitable endeavors they’ve been asked to piggyback on.
“My wife and I have a done a ton of them over the years,” Robison said. “Those things really touch your heart. You see those kids and make them smile. Even if it’s just five minutes out of their day, for those five minutes they’re carefree. It’s always a good thing to be able to do those types of things and give back.”
How far the Reel ‘Em Foundation grows is yet to be seen. The initial plans are to host a pair of fishing tournaments – one of the few mutual passions Minnesotans and Texans share. The first will be held April 9-10 on Lake Fork near the town of Quitman, Texas. A similar event has yet to be announced for Minnesota, but it can logically be imagined that it will be held next summer, when Minnesota isn’t quite as foreboding as it might be on the second weekend in April.
Robison has made a life for himself as a member of the Vikings and is no stranger to charitable giving. His trademark for much of his career was his flowing mane of hair. He chopped that off as part of a donation to a children’s cancer cause called Locks of Love.
That’s who he is.
That’s who he continues to be.
“For my wife and I, the bottom line is that we’ve been blessed in our lives and want to give back,” Robison said. “The foundation is an extension of that commitment and we hope to do a lot of good things in the future with it.”
For more information, got to www.brianrobison96.com and get involved.
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