The San Diego Chargers are known as a philanthropic organization that gives back to the city in countless ways.
Among the many charitable initiatives is the Chargers Champions program. Through it, the team makes a strong commitment to improving physical fitness in San Diego County schools by providing grants for new facilities and equipment. Over the years the Bolts have donated nearly five million dollars, including over one million to the San Diego Unified School District.
“This is a special initiative because it was started by my grandfather to help our schools,” said Chargers Executive Vice President A.G. Spanos. “With budget cuts in the state, usually some of the first programs to get cut are the athletic programs. It is very important for students to create proper habits to stay fit and active for their lives. Therefore, our organization and my family feel it is important to help make up for that shortfall and create a better quality of life for the young people of San Diego.”
On Friday, the team unveiled a brand new fitness center at Wangenheim Middle School courtesy of a $40,000 grant awarded by the Chargers Champions program.
“This says a lot about the San Diego Chargers as an organization,” he said. “This is a team that wants to make a difference in the community, so to be asked to come and take part of this was a blessing. We’re here to help and teach kids to lead an active lifestyle and help shape their health. I wish I had a weight room like this when I was younger. I would have been a stronger kid!”
Schools all throughout San Diego apply for grants through the Chargers Champion program, and the board conducts many thorough meetings before deciding upon the winners. Wangenheim principal Dr. Matt Fallon never thought his school would earn the grant, and is grateful for the transformative addition to the facility.
“We put the grant in taking a shot in the dark and this has been thrilling,” he said. “We’ve always wanted a fitness room but have never been able to afford or put it together even though we knew it was very important for the quality of our physical fitness program. When we were named it was really wonderful. What the Chargers have done is invaluable. Besides the monetary donation, which is incredible, it demonstrates to the kids the importance of community and helping one another.”