BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has been crowned the NFL’s Most Valuable Performer — beating out other players competing in an interactive talent show that aired Thursday night on CBS. The kicker chose to donate his $50,000 prize to the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Students and staff were overwhelmed by Tucker’s generosity, and it’s something they really rely on since 1/3 of their funding comes from donations.
“We have a program for second through eighth-graders. About 700 young people come to Baltimore School for the Arts every week for training in the arts, so we are going to apply the money towards that program and that gets city kids started on a path that can lead many different directions,” says Chris Ford, Baltimore School for the Arts director. “Our star athletes have connections to the world of arts and culture and that’s exciting to see.”
Anu Adefiwitan, a student, said Tucker’s gift speaks volumes.
“It shows me it’s important to give back to your community give back to the future. You know, there’s a lot of things happening in Baltimore, so it shows his effort to make change,” Adefiwitan said.
Another student, Makai Guest, says the donation is also a lesson.
“It teaches me that no matter what you are doing, you should always try to pursue an art no matter what life brings you or what others think,” Guest said.
“To be able to do something for Baltimore’s youth — it’s a tremendous feeling and I’m really excited,” Tucker said.
The donation is a big boost to the school’s funding as they also prepare for their biggest fundraiser of the year, which happens in March. It’s called “Expressions.”
Two other Ravens players were finalists along with Tucker. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams sang while running back Alex Collins hit the stage to show off his dancing skills.