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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Former UConn star Tina Charles' philanthropic work is recognized

Former UConn star Tina Charles is one of four professional athletes nominated for the Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Charles, the all-time leading rebounder in UConn history, has donated half of her WNBA salary in each of the last two seasons to the Hopey's Heart Foundation which was created to not only honor the memory of her late aunt but also placing defibrillators into schools to prevent students from succumbing to sudden cardiac arrest.

Charles is currently second in the WNBA in scoring (19.7 PPG) and rebounding (9.7) heading into tonight's New York/Connecticut game at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Brent Burns, who led the San Jose Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final, Chris Paul of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers and the Cincinnati Bengals' Carlos Dunlap are the other finalists.

The winner will be announced during the second annual Sports Humanitarian Awards on July 12 with a $100,000 grant going to the winner.

Here are bios of the finalists courtesy of a press release sent out by ESPN, which sponsors the awards.

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks: Influenced by his grandfather’s service during WWII, Brent Burns has worked tirelessly with United Heroes League, formerly known as Defending the Blue Line, an organization dedicated to ensuring military members are healthy and active through sports, since 2009. Dubbed “Burnzie’s Battalion,” Burns has donated more than $1.2 million in suite tickets to United Heroes League, regularly meets with veteran and active duty military members and has donated thousands of pieces of hockey equipment to military families. Burns also partners with Folds of Honor to provide scholarships to family members of injured and deceased military personnel.
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Tina Charles, New York Liberty: Inspired by her late aunt, Tina Charles founded The Hopey’s Heart Foundation and has donated half her WNBA salary the past two seasons to help reduce the chance of student athletes succumbing to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Knowing that an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can increase someone’s chance of survival by 50%, Charles has placed more than 200 AEDs in schools, athletic teams and recreation centers worldwide. She’s also partnering with organizations like FIBA Europe and AAU Sports to change regulations so that every team has access to an AED.

Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati Bengals: Fueled by the passion of his parents, education has always been a priority for Carlos Dunlap. That’s why he created the Dunlap Scholars Program, which provides ACT and SAT prep and college readiness courses, mentoring and job interview training to underprivileged student athletes in Cincinnati. From throwing birthday parties for homeless kids who have never had one, to hosting a back to school “fun day” to get kids the important supplies they need, Dunlap is personally invested in ensuring youth feel nurtured and supported.
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Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers: Through the Chris Paul Family Foundation, Chris Paul works tirelessly to level the playing field in education, sports and community. In honor of his late grandfather, Paul established the Nathaniel Jones Scholarship Fund, which annually provides two full-ride scholarships to his alma mater Wake Forest. This past year, he and the Foundation opened three technology labs in communities across the country, including one at a newly refurbished Boys & Girls Club in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. The renovation is part of the $1 million commitment the Foundation has made to Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.

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