Our mission is to provide youth with the tools they need to identify, unleash, and reach their full potential.
While we know it will take hard work, time, and the help of many others, we envision a society where regardless of the circumstances into which you are born, the neighborhood in which you are raised, the obstacles you must navigate, and the challenges you must overcome, all youth can access the tools they need to build a strong foundation for a life of success and purpose.
Before being drafted into the NFL, Torrey Smith had to overcome many of the obstacles that he sees in the youth he is helping today. In fact, if you can name a challenge, there is a good chance Torrey experienced it growing up. Torrey knew better than to simply bet on a career in the NFL to change his circumstances. He took it upon himself to create a strong foundation for a successful life, long before draft day. He did so through determination, hard work, and accepting help from others. This led him to be the first in his family to attend college.
While at the University of Maryland and succeeding as both a student and an athlete, Torrey met Chanel Williams, who was also a high achieving student and athlete, and the first from her family to attend college. Chanel shared much of the same history and work ethic as Torrey. As he began a career with the Baltimore Ravens, Chanel used her joint degree in Elementary Education and Sociology to teach in Baltimore County.
Together, Torrey and Chanel made it a priority to give back to the community. They used their experiences from growing up in underprivileged circumstances, Torrey’s leverage, Chanel’s background in teaching, and their combined passion for helping others, to create The Torrey Smith Family Fund. They enjoyed making people smile through efforts such as providing meals and gifts for families during the holiday season, creating beautiful Reading Oases for students, awarding annual scholarships, and participating in any other charitable initiatives they could. People were smiling, lives were being impacted, but Torrey and Chanel wanted to dig deeper and find out how to do more.
Several things shifted. Torrey and Chanel became parents, Torrey left the Baltimore Ravens and was heading out west to play for the San Francisco 49ers, and Torrey and Chanel both enrolled in an Executive MBA program at the University of Miami. All of this made them focus in a different way about how they wanted to not only give back to the community, but truly make an impact in the lives of students. Through working with an advisor and spending time thinking and learning Torrey and Chanel are thrilled to unveil some new, long-term programs they are establishing in 2016.