marcell dareus gives back

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus loves to give back. Whether he’s visiting a local Boys & Girls Club to give out candy on Halloween or playing Santa Claus and distributing toys to less fortunate children at Christmastime, he always finds a way to share his good fortune. But it was this past year that Dareus felt a different kind of heart tug that led his philanthropic efforts to an international level and his father’s homeland of Haiti. 

When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in 2016, the two-time Pro Bowler was determined to find a way to support relief efforts for the island. He knew there were plenty of great organizations providing aid to the people of Haiti, but wasn’t sure which organization would be best. His goal was simple: he wanted to not only provide a significant donation to a charity, but also wanted to see first-hand where his contribution was being put to use.

Our team researched a number of U.S.-based charities and vetted each of them. After narrowing down the list to three organizations, we worked with Dareus to help select the one that would best accomplish his goals. After much consideration, he selected Florida-based Hope for Haiti, based on their excellent reputation and strong focus on children.

After selecting Hope for Haiti, we worked with the charity on all details, including a donation amount of $25,000. Our team collaborated with them to create an itinerary that would immerse Dareus in Hope for Haiti’s on-island work. Our team ensured that the charity provided security, housing, meals and transportation, offering Dareus a seamless visit. We also made sure that video and photo assets could be obtained on the trip and sent back to us for media use.

The three-day visit included stops at multiple schools, a medical facility and a senior home, as well as a visit to the Hope for Haiti offices in Les Cayes for an island lunch and gratitude presentation by the entire staff thanking Dareus for his donation and efforts.

Along with the trip coordination, we rolled out a media strategy to ensure coverage, notifying the press of the goodwill mission prior to Marcell’s departure, posting frequent updates on social media while he was on the tour and we serviced quotes, photos and video to national and local press upon his return. Coverage results included Black Sports Online, Alabama.com, SB Nation, The Undefeated, L’Union Suite (the largest Haitian publication), local television in Buffalo and more.

Through this experience, we found that there really are no boundaries when it comes to planning and executing an opportunity like this for an athlete. The trip had a profound effect on Marcell and with the ever-changing landscape of sports publicity, our agency will look to continue to provide these kinds of experiences for our clients in the future.