Ryan Nece working harder than ever for Tampa Bay Tampa Bay's 10
August 19, 2010
TAMPA, Florida - What started with a handful
of envelopes and the message to "Pay it
Forward" from a former NFL star has grown
exponentially in just over a year.
Through his "Power of Giving" charity,
former Bucs star Ryan Nece gave out envelopes
filled with $55 to approximately 70 people
last June. He said he's been blown away
by the ways the recipients "paid it
forward" and how it has continued
to trickle down. Nece, who played for the
Bucs from 2002-2007, last played for the
Detroit Lions, wearing No. 55, in 2008.
"Looking back, you can see the lives
we've been able to touch," Nece said. "At
any given moment, on any given day, each
of us has the opportunity to do random
acts of generosity and we make our world
a better place."
Inspired by one recipient who used social
networking to turn $55 into $16,000 in
donations for Wheels of Success last year,
Nece is now partnering with the Tampa-based
charity to pay much bigger dividends.
Wheels of Success helps get cars to families
without transportation in Hillsborough,
Pinellas, and Pasco counties. The families
are carefully vetted so the vehicles are
put to good use: transporting children,
getting to and from better jobs, and traveling
to higher education opportunities.
"That was one of the reasons we really
wanted to partner," said Wheels of
Success Founder and CEO Susan Jacobs. "That's
both of our philosiphies - paying it forward."
The seven-year-old charity gave away 20
cars last year on Labor Day but Nece is
pushing Wheels of Success to a much loftier
goal this year. He's helping them give
away 55 cars in a massive project this
"If we help (these families)," Nece
said, "we know they're going to be
able to raise money, better their families,
and those families are going to be able
to go out and better our communities."
The families for this year's giveaway
have already been chosen, but Wheels of
Success now has less than two weeks to
reach their goal of 55 vehicles. Currently,
they have 45 lined up.
The charities have donation boxes at numerous
local businesses and Nece encourages Tampa
Bay to step up and donate in any way they
can. Whether it be 55 cents or a used vehicle
no longer needed.
"People are choosing their donations
more carefully," he said, "but
with our charities, they know it's staying
in the community and going toward making
Tampa Bay a better place."
Connects reporter Noah Pransky on Twitter
at www.twitter.com/noahpransky, Facebook
at www.facebook.com/noahpransky, or on
his Sports Business blog, Shadow of the
of Success is Tampa Bay's only 501(c)3 nonprofit organization
providing a full range of transportation solutions, including
vehicle replacement; car repair; and licensing, car payment and
down payment assistance to low and moderate income working families.