Matthew and Kelly Stafford’s parting gift to Detroit

Stafford leaving Detroit with heavy heart after 12 years with Lions

Matthew and Kelly Stafford's parting gift to Detroit
Matthew and Kelly Stafford's parting gift to Detroit

DETROIT – Matthew and Kelly Stafford will soon be leaving the Motor City to make their way west to Los Angeles.

Matthew Stafford will be taking on a new role as quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams.

The Staffords have spent 12 years in Detroit and leaving was a tough decision. Before they said goodbye, they made an investment in Detroit that will change lives for years to come. They’re hoping fans will lend some support.

Matthew and Kelly contacted their friend Mitch Albom.

“He’s an incredible philanthropist,” Matthew Stafford said.

“We wanted to leave something to show how grateful we are to this place,” Kelly Stafford said.

Mitch Albom and the Staffords have a history of working together to help. Matthew is a regular at the SAY Detroit Radiothon and the couple donated time and money to make Stafford Field a reality at the SAY Detroit Recreation Center.

The Staffords have been regulars at the Recreation Center for years and have watched children grow and thrive.

Giving back has been a focus off the field for the Staffords, they do it in quiet ways and in big ways. They would select several families who are dealing with difficult circumstances during the holidays and work to make their holidays special.

READ: Staffords provide holiday help for families impacted by COVID across Michigan

At the SAY Detroit Play Center, the two wanted to give the future of Detroit. They donated $1 million to make the Kelly and Matthew Stafford and Friends Education Center a reality. The brand-new 20,000-square foot facility will include classrooms, learning labs and an auditorium, allowing SAY Detroit to expand its services and house a growing and diverse range of programming, including vocational and technical training for adults.

SAY Detroit plans to break ground on the project later this year.

While the Staffords won’t have a physical house in Detroit anymore, the new center will be their home in Detroit -- a place for them to reconnect with the city they love and the people who have shown them so much love and support over the years.

They’re excited for the big move west, but they’re also thankful for the city they’ve called home for more than a decade and the residents who supported them -- cheering for Matthew on the field and praying for Kelly when she needed it most.

The Staffords have felt the love and they want residents to know it’s mutual.

“We have loved this city and they’ve loved us right back,” Matthew Stafford said. “Which is really special.”

If you’d like to donate to help the expansion of the SAY Detroit Play Center and the construction of the Kelly and Matthew Stafford and Friends Education Center, click here.

More information can be found on the SAY Detroit website here.

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Kelly Stafford and Matthew Stafford in an Instagram post on Jan. 25, 2021.

About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.