Jasmine’s mother was a sex worker and went to prison. Her father, she didn’t know. The cards in life were stacked against her, but she was one of several kids who were able to beat the odds with the help of Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities. She would go on to college and find a great career in the corporate world.
“We saw this young woman with mentorship just keep rising to the top,” Pat Smith told D210Sports in May 2019 at the 10th Annual Pat & Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational at the Star in Frisco. “So for me to see Jasmine blossom was huge.”
Princeton was another young person the Smith family charities helped. When they met him, he told them he wanted to be a police officer. He was articulate, kind and gracious, but also homeless. The Smiths took him in. Today, he works as a Dallas police officer.
“There are a number of stories like Jasmine’s,” Emmitt Smith said. “Julie is another person, and obviously, there are so many others. We still have some young kids right now that are actually going through the process, getting through the other side of graduating from college. And there is no telling what other stories may come from this ten years of service that we have provided. So we are honored to be a part of their lives in just a small way.”
But sadly, those new stories are about to end. On Tuesday, Pat and Emmitt Smith announced that they are closing their charities.
“Now, after much contemplation and prayer, and the impact of the pandemic, we have decided that this journey has come to an end,” they wrote in an Oct. 13 press release.
In 2000, Pat Southall, former Miss Virginia USA, and Emmitt Smith, a legendary NFL football player who helped lead the Dallas Cowboys to several Superbowl victories, got married and started their public charity two years later to provide educational opportunities and positive experiences for children.
Focusing on primarily the North Texas area, they offered a hands-on mentoring program and financial help to several local organizations. Some of their charities’ accomplishments included 29 college scholarships, dental services for 2,500 children, and mentoring and leadership camp for TEAM 22 students, which was a program that offered a multi-year curriculum including mentorship, leadership development, community service, and unique excursions where they interacted with community and world leaders.
The Smiths’ charity also supported local organizations through annual grants and hosted annual back to school program that served thousands of children in high-need neighborhoods in Dallas.
The Oct. 13 closure announcement comes a couple of months after the Smiths’ announced that they were separating after 20 years of marriage.
In the Oct. 13 press release, the Smiths shared their deep appreciation of everyone who helped make their charity successful. They pointed out several of their charities’ accomplishments, including impacting thousands of children and their families by helping to change their trajectory in life.
They plan to continue staying engaged in their community and finding other ways to serve.
“It has been a beautiful and amazing journey, and we are so grateful to have shared it with you,” they wrote. “Words cannot fully express our deep gratitude to you and your families.