Blog posted by Kate Santich of the OrlandoSentinel.com
Dwight Howard may not inspire warm and fuzzy feelings from Orlando Magic fans, but the charities he helped over his eight-year stay in Central Florida continue to sing his praises. They say he has not abandoned them.
For his part, Howard recently told Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times that “I’m going to continue to still help out, continue to do whatever I can from afar to build that city [Orlando] up… It won’t stop because I’m on a new team in a new city.”
Which is pretty much the same thing the big man said before he headed west. And now there’s confirmation that he’s keeping his word.
Tina Ashe of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida — one of Howard’s favorite causes — said the NBA star has continued to give even after donning a Lakers uniform. Late last year, months after heading west, Howard wrote a $25,000 check to the charity, which was able to double the funds through a matching-grant challenge from Winter Park’s Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation.
Howard also made a recent $20,000 donation to the BETA Center, which provides residential and educational programs for pregnant teens and teen moms — another of D-12’s preferred charities. He also directed his legal team to help one of the moms sort through an immigration issue so she could stay here with her two daughters, both of whom are U.S. citizens.
BETA still makes good use of the SUV Howard donated, and its young moms still wear the winter coats Howard’s nonprofit foundation gave them. Too, the campus still has a Dwight Howard Learning Center, so named after one of his earlier donations.
BETA won’t be changing it anytime soon.
Apparently, Bolch writes, the star hasn’t forged any “formal relationships” with L.A. charitable organizations yet. But he has helped behind the scenes, which is the way he prefers it.
“It’s not about me doing it for recognition,” he told the Times. “I’m doing it because it’s something I love doing.”