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The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation (BBF) is a Christian organization that works to support the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular children with limited opportunities. Most notably, the foundation sponsors a number of scholarships for lower-income students.
The foundation takes its name from Brandon Burlsworth, who played football at Harrison High School in Harrison (Boone County). After several offers from Division II schools, he decided to be a walk-on at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He earned a scholarship his first semester at Arkansas and became the first walk-on at UA to be named All Southeastern Conference (1997 and 1998) and All American (1998). He also became the first football player in school history to earn his master’s degree before playing his last collegiate game. He was the sixty-third overall pick in the 1999 National Football League (NFL) draft, being chosen by the Indianapolis Colts. Only days after his first mini-camp with the Colts, he was killed in a car accident driving home to attend church with his mother.
The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation was established in June 1999 in Burlsworth’s honor. The goal of the foundation is to develop and implement programs for the benefit of needy and underprivileged children. Burlsworth had planned on sponsoring underprivileged children at his NFL games, and BBF’s signature program is its “Burls Kids” groups. Each year, the foundation purchases thirty tickets for such children for every home game of the UA Razorbacks and the Indianapolis Colts football.
Jim Lindsey and Stanley Reed coordinated the first Brandon Burlsworth Memorial Golf Tournaments, which took place in August 1999. Because of their efforts, an endowment now provides nineteen students from UA with $100,000 in scholarships each year. In 2000, the first annual Brandon Burlsworth Football Camps were held, put on by former UA Razorback football stars. Scholarships to the camps are available for less fortunate children. Three years later, BBF began offering the High School Football Awards, with every high school football program in Arkansas invited to nominate a player to receive the award for its school.
In 2007, the foundation began the Eyes of a Champion program. This program aims to provide eye exams and eye care for low-income, uninsured children.
For additional information: Brandon Burlsworth Foundation. http://www.brandonburlsworth.org (accessed March 23, 2009).
Kinley, Jeff. Through the Eyes of a Champion: The Brandon Burlsworth Story. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Publishing Group, 2001.
Marty BurlsworthBrandon Burlsworth Foundation
Last Updated 8/4/2009
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