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This Dolphin even a Seahawk could root for


Just because the National Football League begins its 2007 season tainted by the prospect that one of its stars was involved in an organized dog fighting operation, doesn’t mean all the news emanating from the league is bad.

In contrast to the legal issues facing Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is the uplifting story of Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Jason Taylor and his involvement with the Office Depot Foundation. The football player’s foundation recently teamed up with the retailer’s foundation on an innovative relationship that calls for the Office Depot Foundation to donate $25,000 in cash as well as computers, backpacks and school supplies to the Jason Taylor Foundation. Founded in 2004, the mission of Taylor’s foundation is to brighten the future for children in South Florida. The Office Depot Foundation is the independent foundation that serves as the primary charitable giving arm of Office Depot.

In addition to the donation of cash and merchandise, the Office Depot Foundation will contribute an additional $1,000 each time Taylor sacks the opposing team’s quarterback. Chances are good that will happen numerous times this season given that Taylor is the reigning Associate Press NFL defensive player of the year. Even if he has an off year, Office Depot has committed to donating a minimum of $10,000.

“Jason Taylor is truly a role model for professional athletes who are committed to philanthropy, Office Depot Foundation president Mary Wong said during a presentation at the retailer’s Delray Beach, Fla., headquarters. “The vision that he and [wife] Katina have for the Jason Taylor Foundation aligns exceptionally well with the mission of the Office Depot Foundation.”

Taylor added, “teaming up with the Office Depot Foundation is a tremendous opportunity for us. Katina and I are excited that our foundation will partner with an organization that shares our passion for helping children in our community and around the world.”

The cash contribution will be used for a school-based mentoring and scholarship program designed to break the cycle of poverty and academic failure for low-income, at-risk children in South Florida counties. In addition, 1,000 backpacks will be donated as part of the Office Depot Foundation’s National Backpack Program and an additional 1,000 specially designed “Sack Packs” will be given to students who participate in Jason Taylor’s Scholars program.

Office Depot chairman and ceo Steve Odland praised the innovative approach employed by Taylor’s foundation as it seeks to enhance educational opportunities.

“We are very proud to be on the same team with Jason Taylor,” Odland said.

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