It’s also what he did off the field that’s really left a positive impact.
“He doesn’t come with an entourage either,” said Herb Hayden, the SAY Detroit Play Center Dir. of Operations. “He would come with his wife and kids.”
The former quarterback of the Detroit Lions wanted to make a difference and not just write an anonymous check.
After his initial donation in 2015, Matthew and Kelly Stafford would show up to the center unannounced all the time.
“Kelly has also been an integral part of what we do here,” Hayden said. “As a former cheerleader with the Georgia Bulldogs, she would help the kids cheer.”
Having Matthew Stafford in Detroit was a big deal for kids like 14-year-old Cameron Goodrich.
“He actually came up here before, and he would and throw balls to us,” Goodrich said.
On top of giving his time, Matthew Stafford also thought about what would make a difference during COVID. When all the kids went virtual, he and Kelly Stafford donated backpacks with laptops inside.
When he was traded to LA, the Stafford’s wanted to leave a lasting legacy and donated another $1M for a learning annex which will double the number of kids the play center can help.
The people say that’s a real win.
“All the kids come from Osborn neighborhood which is an impoverished neighborhood, but they’re very resilient,” Hayden said. “We pick up kids from DPSC and a number of charter schools, and they come here to really be kids and have a good time.”
Now, these life-long Matthew Stafford fans have a message for him for Super Bowl Sunday.
“I want to say, never give up and lose or win, keep on going,” Goodrich said.
This is the site of the Future Education Center in the video player above. They plan to break ground this spring.
And our coverage of Super Bowl LVI is going to get started extra early on Sunday (Feb. 13) with a special Super Bowl edition of Local 4 News today.
Evrod, Rhonda, Kim, and Brandon will get started at 6 a.m. and take you live to Los Angeles, where they will focus on the Detroit connections to the big game.
Rhonda is going to have an extraordinary interview with Barry Sanders.
It all starts Sunday at 6 a.m. right here on Local 4.