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Chargers Champions Continues Big Impact on Community

Posted Oct 29, 2013

Chargers Champions, the team's flagship community program, continues to make big impact in San Diego.

Donald Butler entered the weight room, and it didn’t take long for him to get a workout in.  He got on his back, pulled the bar down to his chest and started doing bench presses while countless players cheered him on loudly.

Photo Gallery: Chargers Champions Weight Room at Mission Bay HS | More Photos

But those players weren’t his Chargers’ teammates.  Instead, they were members of the 7-1 Mission Bay High School Buccaneers who cheered on Butler as he broke in the brand new weight room at Mission Bay High School.  This was all made possible by the Chargers Champions program that awarded the school a $75,000 grant last year. 

From the inception of the Chargers Champions program in 2000, the Spanos family has donated more than $4.5 million to San Diego’s schools and students. The program provides greater financial support for San Diego-area schools than any other private company in San Diego County.

“The Chargers Champions program is our flagship community relationship program,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer A.G. Spanos.  “It was started by my grandfather and I’m grateful for the opportunity to extend his legacy through the program.  It’s really just about improving the quality of life for the young people of San Diego.  Physical fitness is so important with childhood obesity on the rise.  We as an organization are just thankful to do our part.  It is a special day to see the look on the kids’ faces, see them interact with the new equipment and know that they are going to benefit from this for many years to come.  It’s just great.”

For Mission Bay High School principal Fred Hilgers, the grant transcends beyond just the weight room. It impacts how his students feel about their place in the community.

“This is just incredible,” he said.  “Most of our students, almost 75%, are bused into this community, and the majority of them are from high poverty areas.  So the kids don’t get the opportunity to work in a state of the art weight room.  Our weight room was really old.  It needed an overhaul, and what this has done for the kids, not only the football team, is that it’s shown that the community cares.  They have a big brother and big sister out there looking out for them and they feel important.   They feel a part of this community and it’s a big deal.”

This year, six San Diego-area schools received grants to improve physical fitness, athletic or nutrition programs. Project unveilings are expected to begin in 2014.

Chargers Champions “Class of 2013”

Clairemont High School, San Diego


New weight room; sand volleyball court

John Muir High School, San Diego


Fencing equipment; archery center

Wangenheim Middle School, Mira Mesa 


Indoor fitness center

Lincoln Elementary School, Southeast San Diego


Running Track

Nye Elementary School, Escondido


Peaceful Playground Program

Palmquist Elementary School, Oceanside


Running Track

Funds allocated to Chargers Champions are administered through the Chargers Community Foundation, the San Diego Chargers’ charitable foundation. The Foundation was established in 1995 by Dean and Alex Spanos to “help” San Diego build on its strengths by supporting individuals, activities and organizations that work to make the city a better place to live.

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