Community//

Stars Making a Social Impact: How Former NFL Pro Vernon Davis has committed himself to inspire, encourage, and educate students on the importance of reading with

I have always tried to keep a conscious effort to use my platform as a professional athlete to encourage others to strive diligently to achieve their dreams. As a result, I have committed the last 13 years of my professional career to make a difference in the lives of children and young adults in our […]

I have always tried to keep a conscious effort to use my platform as a professional athlete to encourage others to strive diligently to achieve their dreams. As a result, I have committed the last 13 years of my professional career to make a difference in the lives of children and young adults in our community. In 2011, I started the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts as a way to promote art education and appreciation among the youth. Today the foundation takes a holistic approach, focusing on the overall health, education, and well-being of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. By providing essential resources such as scholarships, grants, learning materials, meals, and clothes, the foundation strives to service and inspire our young leaders of tomorrow. Read 85 is an extension of the Vernon Davis Foundation. The program is a hands-on engagement to inspire, encourage, and educate students on the importance of reading. Efforts such as speaking to students at school and donating books and scholarships, this program specifically seeks to challenge children to increase their reading habits in hopes to further their knowledge and open a world of opportunity. Since 2011, the foundation has given away numerous scholarships totaling $50,000. Read 85 has donated over 500 new and gently used books to schools in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area reaching 3,000 students.


Ihad the pleasure to interview Vernon Davis. Vernon is an American football tight end for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL). A native of Washington, D.C., he played college football at the University of Maryland before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers sixth overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. He played his first nine seasons for the 49ers, before being traded to the Denver Broncos in 2015 where he won his first Super Bowl championship. In 2016, Davis joined his hometown Washington Redskins.

Off the playing field, he is a budding entrepreneur, dedicated philanthropist, and an aspiring actor.

Entrepreneur: In January 2019, Vernon launched his very own supplement company — Timeless. In addition to creating Timeless, Vernon owns five Jamba Juice franchises in Northern California and recently partnered with fellow NFL star Mohamed Sanu of the New England Patriots to open six more stores in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Vernon is also partnered in several other companies, including PathWater, a new concept in bottled water that was created as a solution to help end single-use plastic pollution. The bottles are sold in reusable aluminum bottles.

Philanthropist: In 2011, Vernon created the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts as a way to promote art education and art appreciation among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as provide scholarships and grants to deserving nonprofit programs who share the same values and ideals that the Foundation upholds.

Actor: Vernon has previously made a cameo in the 2017 movie “Baywatch” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and has also made cameos in TV shows such as “The League” and “Inside Amy Schumer.” Most recently, he co-starred in “Hell on the Border,” a biographical western based on the true story of Bass Reeves, the first black Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Vernon! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Igrew up in inner-city Washington DC with two brothers and three sisters. We did not have much at all in terms of money or material things, but we were blessed with a loving grandmother and grandfather. Most of my friends were into the wrong things and getting arrested. I am sad to say that I too was heading down that path until I discovered two outlets that I think saved my life. One was art and the other football. They both gave me a reason to be excited about something that made me feel like I was special and was capable of doing something great. This was something people looked up to me for. I made a goal to go to college and play football there as well. Of course, my ultimate goal was to make it to the professional league and I was blessed to be able to accomplish that goal.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? Can you share the story with us?

I was always a big fan of Jerry Rice. Not just his ability on the football field, but the humility in which he played the game.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

Anyone who has been a 49ers fan or football fan in general over the last 10 years knows about the famous Mike Singletary rant about me. It was probably the most embarrassing thing I have ever experienced, not just during my career but in my entire life. I was young back then and one of the best players in the NFL, but I had not learned the skills of humility and being a team player. Ironically, Jerry Rice being such an inspiration to me you would think I would naturally pick up those traits. It’s not that I was a bad or unselfish player, but I lacked the ability to internalize my frustrations on the field and reproduce them into meaningful acts of inspiring my teammates to be the best they could be. Coach Singletary asked me to go to the locker room in the middle of a game and it was talked about on sports news for what seemed like forever. Coach Singletary was one of the first people I had ever met that was willing to sacrifice making an example of one of his best players to show the importance of team chemistry. I had a serious self-evaluation after that incident, had a meeting with Coach, and made a commitment to work on myself in more ways than just being a great Tight End. I went on to have one of the best seasons of my career that year and I think Coach for the teaching me that life lesson.

In my work, I focus on how one can thrive in three areas, body, mind, and heart. I’d like to flesh this out with you. You are a very busy leader with a demanding schedule. Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

I am a strong advocate for healthy eating and living. I avoid eating very fatty, processed foods, as well as foods that are high in sugar. I have found that eating the wrong things can lead to low energy and lack of motivation. I like to meditate in the morning and before bed. I visualize accomplishing the goals I set for myself and my family. Fitness and getting massages regularly is an important routine for me as well.

Ok super. Let’s now move to the main part of our discussion. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

I have always tried to keep a conscious effort to use my platform as a professional athlete to encourage others to strive diligently to achieve their dreams. As a result, I have committed the last 13 years of my professional career to make a difference in the lives of children and young adults in our community. In 2011, I started the Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts as a way to promote art education and appreciation among the youth. Today the foundation takes a holistic approach, focusing on the overall health, education, and well-being of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. By providing essential resources such as scholarships, grants, learning materials, meals, and clothes, the foundation strives to service and inspire our young leaders of tomorrow.

Read 85 is an extension of the Vernon Davis Foundation. The program is a hands-on engagement to inspire, encourage, and educate students on the importance of reading. Efforts such as speaking to students at school and donating books and scholarships, this program specifically seeks to challenge children to increase their reading habits in hopes to further their knowledge and open a world of opportunity.

Since 2011, the foundation has given away numerous scholarships totaling $50,000. Read 85 has donated over 500 new and gently used books to schools in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area reaching 3,000 students.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

I was once part of the underserved and overlooked demographic as a child. I know what it feels like to not have the support you need to be a productive member of society. I want to change that for the lives of as many young kids as I can.

I have always had an admiration for what Magic Johnson has done as a businessman and philanthropist. He has been a big influence on me to accomplish some of the things I have in business and in the community.

What are your 5 things “I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Take a minute to enjoy the fruits of your labor before jumping into a new endeavor.
  2. Patience is the most valuable tool you can have in life, business, and in family.
  3. It is important to trust but verify.
  4. There is no greater purpose in life than service to others.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“There is no greater purpose than service to others”

What are the best ways our readers can follow you online?

My IG page @VernonDavis85

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Sports Stars Making a Social Impact: Vernon Davis is helping to promote art education and art appreciation among youth from disadvantaged backgrounds

by Edward Sylvan
Community//

Lessons From Inspirational Women In STEM: “We have a lot of work to do in reading education, specifically in urban literacy education” With Kathryn Starke & Penny Bauder

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
Community//

How Madeline Di Nonno of the Television Academy Foundation is helping to make Film and TV more representative of the US population

by Yitzi Weiner

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.