Former Wisconsin running back, current UW-Madison student and NFL star James White and his wife, Badger alumna Diana White, have announced the start of The Sweet Feet Foundation.
The foundation will provide full-ride college scholarships to underprivileged youth for both athletic and academic students who can maintain good standing throughout their schooling. The Whites plan on awarding one of the first scholarships to a UW-Madison student this fall after finalizing the criteria and monetary details.
“I know the benefits of scholarships since I was able to attend the University of Wisconsin with financial help due to my family not having the income to put me through college,” Diana said. “I am grateful I was able to attend college and graduate with a degree and we hope to bridge the gap and allow more kids to do the same.”
Wisconsin is a special place for both James and Diana, who met at UW-Madison. In an interview with WisBusiness.com, she teasingly took partial credit for James’ return to campus. He’s finishing the degree he postponed for the NFL in life sciences communication and plans to graduate this spring — something that was important to him and his family.
“Education is powerful,” James said. He added that he and Diana want to give back to education by helping students that can’t cover the expense of college.
“For us to try and be able to alleviate those bills that they might have is something that we can change somebody’s life forever and let them attempt and try to chase all the dreams that they want to aspire to do,” he said. “We just want to do our part and try to change the world, change lives and just this little bit that we’re doing can help somebody forever.”
And it’s a family affair. Diana’s sister serves as the foundation’s treasurer. James’ mom and brother and a close friend (a fellow UW alum) also serve on the fund’s board.
James said he hopes that his endorsers are willing to contribute — and a potential new team. James is currently undergoing the free agency process after completing a contract with the New England Patriots, the team he’s played with for seven years earning three championship rings.
When asked how the free agency process was going, he responded: “Hopefully we’ll know in the next few days. I’m open to anything and excited to see what the future holds.”
When asked if he was coming to Wisconsin, he joked: “You never know.”
The Sweet Feet Foundation hopes to have the scholarship details up on James’ website in the coming weeks and an application ready for the fall semester. In addition to providing scholarships, the foundation also plans to host various drives throughout the year to provide necessities for low-income families.
“This foundation is something Diana and I have wanted to start for a long time, and we are excited to finally put it in motion and give back to kids across the nation to help them achieve their educational goals,” James said.
-By Stephanie Hoff