The team here at United Way of Southeast Louisiana was thrilled at the announcement that the New Orleans Saints nominated Roman Harper for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. One of the league’s most prestigious awards, this honor recognizes the efforts of the NFL athlete that best demonstrates their commitment to philanthropy and community impact. As soon as Harper was drafted by the Black and Gold in 2006, he began making a tremendous impact in our region.
Harper was instrumental in the recovery efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by partnering with United Way of Southeast Louisiana and spearheading and investing in the “Hope for the Holidays” campaign. This project helped to rebuild 35 homes for those impacted by flooding.
In 2009, Harper Founded the Harper’s Hope 4*1 Foundation whose mission is to strengthen families and enhance their emotional, social and spiritual health through educational programs, enrichment activities, and economic development. The Foundation fosters empowerment skills and provides lasting coaching experiences that will help individuals realize their potential, build self-esteem and strive for excellence.
Current programs include ‘Reading with Roman’ to encourage literacy and provide resources for kids not reading at a grade level; Kleats for Kids to provide sporting equipment and funding for under-served sports programs and 41 Days of Xmas. In addition, the foundation is implementing a program that will stress educational importance, post-secondary education decisions and financial literacy.
We’re fortunate to have a man like Roman Harper to cheer for on Sundays, but this special honor is much deserved for his efforts off the football field. We invite you, all friends and teammates, to join the discussion and tell us #whyroman.