Tampa native Denard Span gives back to his hometown

11-year MLB veteran started Denard Span Foundation
Denard Span Foundation
Denard Span Foundation 2
Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 18:43:27-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Catholic grad Denard Span played 11 MLB seasons with the Twins, Nationals, Giants, Rays and Mariners. Now, he's turning post-baseball attention to giving back to his hometown community.

The Denard Span Foundation helps support single-parent families with everything from food to a new minivan for a child with special needs.

"One, I grew up in the Tampa Bay area. Two, I grew up in a single-mother home," Span said, via video chat. "Just being able to help people in the same city I grew up in, in similar situations that I grew up in means everything for me."

The pandemic made things tricky for the foundation, but Span and his team are still getting their mission accomplished.

"We had a fundraiser at the height of COVID. We were able to raise $15,000, and we were able to service 20 to 30 families and give them food for a whole month," he said.

Span played 43 games with the Rays in 2018, and he said that the stars definitely aligned to bring him back home to shed some more light on his community service.

"God had a hand in that," Span said. "Just bringing me back home. It was the best thing ever for me to put on the Rays uniform for those two months."

The 36-year-old said running a nonprofit is like running a business. It has its challenges, but in the end, he said it's totally worth the time and effort.

"There are moments where you ask yourself 'Is this worth it?' or 'Am I doing the right thing?' Whenever I see the smile of somebody that I’m helping or see tears from their face, that's what fills me up. That's what keeps me pushing, and keeps me striving to want to grow the foundation," he said.

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