For a fifth time in his distinguished seven-year NBA career, Dwight Howard was chosen as the winner of the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award.
Dwight won the award for a fourth consecutive year for his dedicated efforts off the court for the purpose of enhancing others’ lives. The award, named in honor of the Magic’s owner and his wife, is chosen by an anonymous panel of external representatives.
In addition to receiving the award, Dwight also got $50,000 to donate to the charity of his choice. Each of the past three years, Dwight has donated $25,000 of the money to the BETA Center to support the newly created “Dwight Howard Learning Center” for single, teen moms.
Dwight has also donated $25,000 to the “Blessings in a Backpack” program at Lake Como Elementary to provide need-based children with nutritious meals over the weekend when school isn’t in session.
Dwight visited both the BETA Center and Lake Como Elementary School during the past year to offer his support for the programs.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Dwight donated 125 meals with turkey and all of the trimmings to needy families in the Central Florida area. And at Christmas, he provided 100 youth from the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida with gift cards and took them shopping.
And Dwight also worked in conjunction with Burlington Coat Factory to provide some 1,900 coats to five local non-profit organizations. He also took 100 other children on a shopping spree for winter jackets.
Dwight’s “D-12 Foundation” presented $70,000 in checks to four local nonprofit organizations as part of his “Gifts from the Heart” Valentine’s Day caravan.
And before Magic games, Dwight was a regular part of the “Make-A-Wish” National Program, fulfilling the dreams of many children hoping to meet their hero.
Put it all together and it was easy to see why Dwight was once again chosen the winner of this prestigious award. His willingness to consistently donate his time and funds to those in need shows Dwight’s commitment to the Central Florida community.
“It’s my way of showing the people who I know support me but can’t always make it to all of the games that I appreciate them,” Dwight said. “Some people like to give money and that’s good for certain things. But for me it’s about being there and showing them that I really care. To me, that’s something that is long lasting and really makes an impact on someone’s life.”