As a Goodwill spokesperson, veteran wide receiver talks about tough upbringing and helping others succeed through work.
ROCKVILLE, MD — He’s played in three Pro Bowls, is one of only two players to catch for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past six seasons, and is the longest-standing member of one of football’s most storied teams. Yet through 12 years with the Green Bay Packers, Donald Driver remained one of the NFL’s most talented receivers who had never reached a Super Bowl.
When Driver takes the field in his first Super Bowl on Sunday, there will be no doubt he has learned the rewards of hard work and the value of being given a chance. Off the field, Driver has made it his mission to ensure that others in his community get the same chance to learn the value and dignity of work.
As a teen, Driver lived in harsh conditions with his mother and four siblings, with the family living in a U-haul truck, in motels and on the street. He grew up knowing what it was like to not have lights, water, gas or food. It wasn’t until the Packers gave him a chance in the seventh round of the 1999 draft that he was able to transition from being dependent to independent, quickly becoming known as a leader on the field and off.
Today, he holds virtually every Packers receiving record, but is also well known in Wisconsin for his extensive community and volunteer work. In addition to creating his own foundation that assists a variety of local charities, he is also a spokesperson for Goodwill® helping raise awareness of what it means to give people a chance through work and training.
Driver’s relationship with Goodwill started in March 2003 when he agreed to sign autographs at the opening of the new Goodwill Store & Donation Center in Franklin, WI. Since then, he has appeared in Goodwill commercials, donation drives, book signings, store openings and other promotional opportunities supporting his local Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago. For each of the past eight years, Driver has spent part of Super Bowl Sunday at the Naval Station Great Lakes — where Goodwill provides employment for hundreds of people with disabilities —- signing autographs for recruits, sailors and fans.
This year, on his way to his very own Super Bowl, Driver wants to raise awareness and deeper understanding of what it means to overcome challenges and be given a chance to work.
“As an NFL player, I’m part of a group that receives a lot of attention and praise—but there are many unsung heroes that are overcoming unbelievable challenges everyday—with the help of organizations like Goodwill,” said Driver.
Goodwill gives people a chance everyday by providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, those with limited financial means, people with criminal backgrounds, veterans, youth and other vulnerable populations. Driver truly demonstrates both in words and actions what Goodwill is all about. He knows what it means to believe in dreams and work hard, and strongly believes that every American should be given the opportunity to gain dignity and independence through work.