Champions of Change introduction

Shepherding awareness and support for organizations that serve our communities by sustaining pathways for families to have stable, healthy, and loving homes.

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Statement of Philanthropy

At Champions of Change Foundation, we are committed to fostering community resilience and empowerment through targeted support and strategic funding of local organizations that share our vision. We are building a culture of access, opportunity, and sense of belonging. Our approach to philanthropy is guided by the principles of dignity, empowerment, and collaboration, ensuring that our contributions directly impact the communities we serve.

We fund projects that demonstrate a clear commitment to creating lasting change within communities, focusing on initiatives that provide comprehensive support to families in need. Our selection process is meticulous, emphasizing organizations that not only address immediate needs but also work towards systemic change by empowering individuals and fostering self-sufficiency.

Our funding philosophy is grounded in the understanding that meaningful support extends beyond financial assistance. It involves building strategic partnerships with community organizations, offering resources for capacity building, and sharing knowledge to magnify our collective impact. We believe in investing in the potential of communities to change their own narratives, supporting them in laying the foundations for a future where every family can thrive.

The Champions of Change Foundation is more than a funder; we are a partner in change. We choose to invest in projects that inspire hope, drive progress, and make a tangible difference in the lives of those we aim to serve. Through our philanthropy, we aspire to create a ripple effect of positive change, empowering communities to rise together, and build pathways to stability, health, and love.


Our story Why Champions of Change came together

During each founder’s journey in activism and involvement, they saw clearly that societal change cannot occur without meaningful support for families in all forms.  This type of support is most often provided by organizations embedded within their community, offering services based in dignity, empowerment, and collaboration with others to provide true wrap-around services.


The founders’ collaboration in Champions of Change is intended to supercharge community organizations with funding, awareness, and strategic partnerships. A new rotation of Benefitting Partners will be selected in coming years.

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Meet our founding members

Three philanthropic activists and former teammates coming together to provide sustainable support to community-based organizations.

Doug Baldwin Jr.

I am… a believer in redemption

a husband learning love

a father learning patience

a son learning perspective

a striving human needing grace.

Michael Bennett Jr.

Michael is acclaimed as one of the NFL’s best defensive ends, a Super Bowl champion and three-time Pro Bowler. He has also written a NYT Bestseller, funded STEAM programs for students of color and “Teaching for Black Lives” curriculum in Seattle Public schools, as well as managed the Bennett Foundation with his wife Pele to provide nutrition education.

Cliff Avril

Cliff had a celebrated ten year career as a defensive end in the NFL, including winning a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks. He and his wife, Tia, also created their own family foundation during that time, making impact in the lives of youth in Seattle, Jacksonville and Haiti, where he built homes and a school for 500 children.

Joined by our advisory committee

Bookie Gates (Executive Director)

Bookie, with over 30 years of community service in Seattle, is the founder of Baseball Beyond Borders and chair of the King County Play Equity Coalition. His efforts focus on promoting inclusivity and access in youth sports, drawing from his professional baseball background. Through his leadership, he has made significant strides in community development and sports equity.

Sara Osborne
Sara Osborne

Sara is the External Affairs Director for Safeway. She brings to the committee experience in strategic funding of over $70 million to Washington non-profits, learnings from advisory roles for a variety of Seattle organizations, and impactful collaborations with several Seahawks players.

Jamal Crawford
Jamal Crawford

Jamal is a Seattle native, and has just retired from a nationally-acclaimed career in the NBA from 2000 to 2020. He also is a longstanding benefactor to Seattle, including providing a platform for local players aspiring to progress from amateur status to professional through “The Crawsover” league.


Draze is a Seattle-raised hip hop artist, songwriter, producer, emcee, musician, and community organizer. Not only is he renowned as one of the premier hip hop soundtrack creators for television and movies, but he also manages “Building Black Wealth”, an event-driven effort to encourage more investment in black-owned businesses.

Brigid Graham

Brigid was the President of the Lenny Wilkens Foundation for 14 years where she successfully raised over $14 million for Seattle’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.

Lacie West

Lacie West is a Seattle native and currently serves as the Executive Director at Friends of the Children-Seattle. She has over 15 years of successful youth development nonprofit leadership experience. Prior to joining Friends-Seattle, Lacie served in leadership roles at the Service Board, College Possible (formerly College Access Now), and UNCF (United Negro College Fund).

Mario Bailey

Mario is the Director of Legends and Player Engagement for the Seattle Seahawks. He has an accomplished history in both football as a record-breaking wide receiver on the Huskies National Championship team as well as the CFL and NFL Europe, and community support as a social worker, youth counselor, and operator of his own foundation.

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Nate Silverman

Nate has 19+ years of experience in the sports business. He has worked in many aspects of the business including youth, non-profit, collegiate, professional and founded an agency at one point in his career. Since a young age, he has had a passion for basketball and is currently a Senior Vice President with the 4x Champion Seattle Storm.

La Shanda Hurst

La Shanda Hurst serves as a Business Program Manager for the Microsoft Philanthropies Employee Giving program. La Shanda prides herself on building strong community relations, and her commitment to philanthropy has led her to work with some of Seattle’s top professional athletes. In addition, she is a member of several organizations, boards and a recipient of multiple awards and acknowledgements for her community and volunteer work.

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