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Australia's Most Charitable Athletes


Many Australian sports stars are using their power, influence and money to drive change in the community.

Most athletes give back as much as they can, wherever they can. Some lend their voice to support a charitable cause or foundation, others get hands on and work with charities, others donate significant funds and some athletes even create their own foundations to bring maximum impact.

Every athlete has their own story and personal connection to charities they work with.

Here are just a few of Australia's most charitable athletes!

Greg Hire, NBL Player Perth Wildcats

Hire was named the 2018 WA Young Australian of the Year for his extensive work in mental health through his not-for-profit, A Stitch in Time.

Founded in 2014, it aims to provide programs for at risk youth, aged 12-25 years in the Perth Metropolitan Area and Regional Communities. The organisation's programs are focused on mentoring, building resilience, and the importance of positive mental wellbeing, to change the mental health landscape in Western Australia.

Hire is also an ambassador for Youth Focus and has been awarded a Pride of Australia medal after he was commended for saving the lives of two young people through his charity work.

He's much more than just a star basketballer!

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Danny Green, Boxing Legend

One of Australia's highest profile athletes and a boxing champion, Green launched the Cowards Punch Campaign (CPC) in the hope of reducing impulsive violence. To get the message out, CPC implemented a number of educational advertisements across radio, television and outdoor billboards to highlight the effects of violence on the victim, the perpetrator and their families.

Green has appeared on TV shows such as The Morning Show, Sunrise and The Project promoting this cause. The advertisements now also have the backing of NSW and QLD Governments who joined the campaign and now use Danny’s advertisements as community service announcements.

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Adam Goodes & Michael O'Loughlin, Former AFL Players Sydney Swans

The two former teammates founded the GO Foundation in 2009. Initially, GO participated in various Indigenous community initiatives in Dareton, NSW. In 2014 they refined their focus to prioritise education dedicated to empowering the next generation of Indigenous leaders in all walks of life. The organisation believes education is the key to increasing health and employment amongst young Indigenous Australians.

Currently, GO has two scholarship programs; a public school scholarship and a university scholarship. GO provide financial assistance for a range of educational needs as well as learning support and employment/internship pathways to support the students and their families.

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Glenn McGrath, Former Australian Cricketer

Glenn achieved great success as one of the world's great cricketers, but the remarkable achievements of his charity, The McGrath Foundation, are equally remarkable.

The foundation was named after Glenn's late wife, Jane, who had a public battle with breast cancer. The comfort, compassion, support and empowerment that the entire McGrath family received from Jane's breast cancer nurse is what sparked the idea for the foundation, which the couple started in 2005.

McGrath Breast Care Nurses help individuals (and their families) experiencing breast cancer by providing physical, psychological and emotional support. The support is free and available from the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment. It’s as simple as checking their website to find the nearest nurse. More than 64,000 families have been supported since the foundation was founded.

Glen has used his platform and cricketing background to create several initiatives to fundraise for the foundation, including, The Pink Test and Pink Stumps Day.

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Dylan Alcott, Australian Wheelchair Basketball & Tennis Player

Dylan Alcott is committed to change the stigma surrounding disabilities. Alcott has been in a wheelchair all his life; he was born with a tumour wrapped around his spinal cord which was successfully removed but left Alcott paraplegic.

It wasn't until he was about 13 years of age when Alcott began to accept his disability, and he has credited his love sport as what changed his life for the better.

At 17, he won a gold medal at the 2008 Paralympics in wheelchair basketball and he has been on a championship run ever since, dominating the sport and successfully transitioning into tennis, winning the last four Australian Open Quad Wheelchair Singles title.

Through the The Dylan Alcott Foundation, Alcott hopes to help young kids who are just like him, struggling to come to terms with their disability, fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams. The foundation fundraisers for grants, scholarships and mentoring to help kids with disabilities overcome the barriers they face in sport and school.

Earlier in the year, his foundation hosted the first ever 'Ability Festival' an inclusive music festival everybody could enjoy. He raised $200,000 for the foundation.

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Cathy Freeman, Olympian

Cathy Freeman is a bonafide Australian icon. The former sprinter was the first Australian Aboriginal woman to win a gold medal at an international athletics event in 1990 and, two years later, the first Australian Aboriginal to compete at the Olympics. Her achievements in the sport are well known, her Sydney Olympic gold medal race in 2000 is perhaps a moment in time everyone can recount.

Throughout her career Freeman always paid homage to her indigenous roots and was a voice and inspiration to indigenous people world wide. Following her retirement in 2003, she pursued interests important to her, especially those related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and in 2007 launched the Cathy Freeman Foundation.

The Foundation's simple mantra is that education can change lives. Their purpose? To close the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and provide pathways to a brighter future.

The foundation partners with indigenous communities across Australia to promote education and give young people opportunity. The Foundation delivers five programs designed from Pre Prep through to Year 12. The programs focus on improving school attendance, behaviour and literacy and are effective in extending the children’s horizons and future opportunities. In 2017, the number of students completing year 12 in the Palm Island community had increased by 350% from their programs.

"I think my story and my name represent a possibility and I think that's really powerful." - Cathy Freeman

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Related: The world's most charitable athletes

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