For the Carolina Panthers, Dontari Poe is more than a defensive tackle…
New Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Dontari Poe has heard every variation of ‘BIG’ imaginable used to describe his size for a long time, so while he can’t physically expect to change that, Charlotte fans will soon recognize another good citizen has come to a team loaded with such individuals.
"“So if we can bring a tech component and introduce it to the inner city, now we’re doing something. Now we’re touching lives.This is the best way to invest in Memphis. We’re not investing in Memphis for now. We’re investing in Memphis for the future. They are the future.” —Dontari Poe"
Periodically you have an opportunity to learn something exceptional about a Panther or other athlete who literally puts his money where his mouth is, and its clear that Poe putting Memphis out front regarding whatever he does as an entrepreneur is a position he’s legitimately staked out. If you’ve gotten an extra jolt of joy from volunteering, participated in the nurturing of an uncertain intellect or helping overcome a personal challenge, putting that good vibe on a routine that builds up young confidence, then exercising oversight- including financial backing, with an honest to God *focus* on moving one specific group upwards to the best of your considerable ability- now we’re talking an environment where results become more of a reality.
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Poe Man’s Dream Foundation was started last year, after Dontari made a four year deep dive into technology investing with financial adviser Omar Sillah. 18 year-old George Hofstetter impressed them enough to both invest in and bring the former to Memphis from Oakland, CA as an inspiration to action. Poe’s three-day Dream Foundation event for Memphis area middle and high schoolers preceded his football camp, the focus being how to pitch ideas by partnering with local entrepreneurs. Poe feels Hofstetter inspires kids because ‘he’s somebody that looks like me’, motivating others through the simple ‘Wow, if he can do it, I can do it.’
Results count, some places a bit more, sometimes a lot more. Putting a spotlight on entrepreneurial talent, providing a fertile growth environment and showing others what’s truly possible has almost zero to do with the newest face on defense (no hard feelings about any ex-Falcon tag…) or Poe’s regular job as a run stopper, which gets into full swing when the Panthers return for hard core pre-season training next month.
For someone willing to use his personal success as a platform to try uplifting a community by creating opportunities that might not otherwise exist, its just another very good reason to cheer those good Panthers we all know about. Memphis knows such a man, and Charlotte, like the Panthers, can always benefit from another Good Man.
Just in case there’s something inside you about helpfulness that wants to change some part of a child’s life, being a 350 pound-human roadblock or pass-catching All Pro isn’t necessary to make a difference.