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Matthew and Kelly Stafford leave $1 million parting gift for Detroit

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3-min read

Matthew Stafford is no longer the starting quarterback in Detroit, but he and his family won't be soon forgotten in the city he called home for more than a decade.

The new Los Angeles Rams quarterback bid an unofficial farewell to Detroit on Thursday, first detailing why he made the difficult decision to request a trade in an interview with the Detroit Free Press, then leaving a significant parting gift for the city.

Stafford's wife Kelly posted a statement announcing a $1 million pledge to help build a new education center with SAY Detroit, the nonprofit organization founded by Mitch Albom to help Detroit's needy citizens.

Stafford's full statement:

Our final thank you.

There are not enough words to truly express how grateful we are to have lived here for the past 12 years. We came here for football, but we are leaving with a sense of home and endearment. Endearment not only for this city and the Lions organization, but a love for the people who make up this community. Detroit has supported our family not only by showing up on Sundays, but also through our most difficult times. You took us in as your own and made Detroit feel like home and that is what it became, our home.

It has been our goal to always give back to the city. Detroit and its people have blessed us in so many ways, we only hope you have felt our gratitude through our joy of giving back to the city. As we sat down and tried to figure out how to thank you one last time, we felt like words were not sufficient. And so, we have teamed up with Mitch Albom to create an education center that will be attached to the SAY PLAY Center where Stafford Field is also located. The new building will enable the Center to increase its student population who benefit from the center’s academic, athletic and arts programs, and service adults with job training programs, GED classes, and community events. This is the legacy we want to leave behind. We would love for you to be a part of it with us..to be a part of this legacy of making a positive impact in so many Detroiters’ lives. If you would like to get involved, I have placed a link in my bio and in my story so that you will be able to do so. Think of the difference we could make together for the thousands of people in city of Detroit.

You will always remember Matthew Stafford as a Detroit Lions quarterback, but our hope is that you will also remember our family for our love of the Detroit community and its people.

Thank you Detroit, for everything.

#StaffordStrong

Per SAY Detroit, the Staffords' donation will go toward building a 20,000-square-foot facility on the grounds of Detroit's Lipke Park, called the Kelly and Matthew Stafford and Friends Education Center. The building will include classrooms, learning labs and an auditorium that will help students young and old, with vocational and technical training for the latter.

The Staffords' relationship with SAY Detroit goes back to 2015, when another $1 million donation helped reopen a recreation center in Detroit

This donation doesn't cover the education center's budget goal of $2 million, so SAY Detroit is still seeking donations, which can be sent here. The organization says several companies and business leaders have already pledged to join the campaign, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and the Forbes Company.

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