The 2014 NFL season kicks off a week from tomorrow and that means Americans will be starting to prepare their fantasy football teams for the season. Now, thanks to baseball executive Thad Levine, those teams can be used to help charitable causes.
Levine, assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers, launched a website called Meaningful Wins with his college friend, John Ellis. According to USA Today, the site converts a portion of the entry fees for fantasy leagues to dollars for a charity of your choice. The thought was with 40 million people spending $2 million in fantasy leagues, why not use some of that money to help important causes?
Levine told USA Today that if just 1 percent of the money spent on fantasy sports goes to charity, they can end up raising $20 million. “These guys go nuts preparing for their fantasy drafts,” he reportedly said, “and now there’s more of an opportunity to drive money to their causes.”
The site works like this: You create your league as normal on any of the major fantasy sports sites (Yahoo, ESPN, etc). After everything is set up, you register your team on Meaningful Wins, pick any of the featured charities on the sites to play for and, if you win your league your nonprofit gets the cash. As an added bonus you will receive a receipt, allowing you to treat your fantasy football team as a tax write-off.
Some of the charities involved with Meaningful Wins include Doctors Without Borders, Children’s Miracle Network, and the Environmental Defense Fund. If the charity you wish to play for is not featured on the site, you can enter its name. Meaningful Wins will then check to make sure the organization is in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) database and will confirm within 48 hours.
Levine is not the only person in baseball looking to use fantasy football to help charities. Mets Third Baseman David Wright is leading a fantasy football draft at Citi Field today allowing fans to compete against him and other players. Fans can purchase the right to manage a team for a $3,000 donation, and can bring along a co-manager for an additional $1,000. Yet another optional $1,000 allows fans to select the division in which they will compete. Proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald Houses in Long Island and New York, the Mets Foundation and Big League Impact, the personal charity of St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright and his brother, Trey.