San Francisco 49ers WR Anquan Boldin was named the 2015 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide, on Saturday, February 6, becoming the first player in franchise history to win the esteemed accolade. One of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award is the only league award that recognizes a player's off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence. As a part of the honor, Boldin's Q81 foundation will receive a $50,000 donation, courtesy of the NFL Foundation and Nationwide.
"I'm beyond humbled to be selected as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year," said Boldin. "I used to dream that I could play like Walter Payton when I was growing up, but he became even more of an inspiration to me as I learned about his legacy as a humanitarian. I commend the other 31 finalists throughout the National Football League who continue to use this platform to influence the lives of others in a positive way. May we continue to open our hearts and make an impact in our communities and throughout this world."
"Anquan Boldin is a tremendous example of a professional athlete who has used the platform the National Football League affords him to positively impact the lives of others," said 49ers CEO Jed York. "The diversity of his philanthropic efforts and the hands-on approach he takes to providing for those who cannot provide for themselves is widely respected throughout professional sports. Anquan has been a great ambassador for the San Francisco 49ers, and we congratulate him on being named this year's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year."
Boldin etched his name in the NFL record books multiple times throughout the 2015 season. In Week 16, Boldin recorded his 1,000th career reception becoming one of only 13 players in NFL history to record 1,000-or-more receptions in their career. In addition, Boldin reached 1,000 receptions in 185 games, making him the fifth-fastest player to reach that milestone, and currently ranks 12th in NFL history with 1,009 career receptions. Boldin also became the first player in NFL history to record 50-or-more receptions and at least 600 yards receiving in each of his first 13 NFL seasons. He finished the season with 69 receptions for 789 yards and four touchdowns. Throughout his career, Boldin has been honored with NFL Man of the Year nominations four times by three different teams and has been equally impactful in the community during his 13 years in the NFL.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin is one of three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
Boldin is responsible for establishing the Anquan Boldin (Q81) Foundation, which for 12 years has been dedicated to expanding the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged children. Through grassroots efforts by Boldin, the foundation has showcased charitable activities in Phoenix, Baltimore, South Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area, developing a niche for awarding scholastic and community achievement in youth, as well as distributing four-year college scholarships to deserving high school seniors. In 2014, the three-time Pro Bowl selection and his wife, Dionne, donated one million dollars to the Q81 Foundation for continued distribution of college scholarships. That same year, the NFLPA awarded Boldin and his foundation $100,000 for winning the prestigious Byron "Whizzer" White Award. Boldin's foundation was also awarded $25,000, when he was named a 2015 Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award finalist, the only NFL player to be acknowledged.
Furthermore, the 13-year veteran recruits fellow NFL players and celebrities to participate in the annual Q-Festival, a weekend of free entertainment provided to residents and participating fans in his Florida hometown of Palm Beach County, raising more than $100,000 annually. Other seasonal services provided through the foundation include Thanksgiving giveaways, holiday shopping sprees and back-to-school donations.
Boldin's philanthropic endeavors have also had a global impact. Since 2010, he has worked with Oxfam America, taking two overseas trips to Ethiopia and Senegal and later using his testimony at the White House to lobby Senegalese rights.