COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – October 13, 2023 – This Sunday, the Washington Commanders face the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. However, as opposing punters Bradley Pinion, Falcons, and Tress Way, Commanders, approach game day, they’ll be punting for a bigger purpose. For each punt that lands inside the 20-yard line, both Pinion and Way have committed to donate $1,000 to child development organization Compassion International to fight poverty in an initiative called “Punts for Purpose.”
Every year, millions of babies in poverty around the world die within their first year of life due to a lack of resources, delivery complications, malnutrition, and preventable diseases. And approximately 99 percent of maternal and 90 percent of neonatal mortalities occur in the developing world.
After funding two child development centers and traveling to Tanzania to see Compassion’s work firsthand, Pinion and his wife Kaeleigh were moved by the needs of these moms and babies, and they started “Punts for Purpose,” inviting other league punters to join them in committing a specific donation to Compassion for each punt inside the 20.
The project became even more timely for the Pinions, who are expecting their first child in January. Pinion shared, “Expecting our own child while launching ‘Punts for Purpose’ has put into perspective how crucial care for the mom and baby is before the baby is even born. I always knew it was important, but it wasn’t until I saw it with my own wife and child that I realized how vital good resources and timely care are throughout the process. I couldn’t imagine going through it without the resources we have.”
Donations from punts will be used toward funding 500 child survival centers, which will help moms and babies in poverty receive proper prenatal care, education, nutritious food, clean water, access to medical care, a birth assistant during childbirth, and a community of spiritual and emotional support. In just two years’ time, 500 fully funded centers could save the lives of 25,000 mothers and 25,000 babies.
Way and Corey Bojorquez, Cleveland Browns, signed on as well, along with several other players who will join in around the holidays.
Way said, “In my pro career, I’ve punted more than 600 times, but you can bet that I’ll be counting every single punt this season. I’m excited to see the kind of difference we can make in the lives of moms and babies in poverty all over the world. We may be opponents on the field, but we’re brothers in the cause. The purpose is so much bigger than the punts.”
Compassion has seen incredible results in its survival centers, like the ones Pinion, Way, and Bojorquez, will be funding. In Ethiopia, infant mortality rates dropped from 31 out 1,000 to almost zero; and in Togo, attended birth and immunization rates improved from 48 to 98 percent.
Ashleigh Alcorn, manager of pro athlete partnerships at Compassion, expressed, “Compassion loves partnering with pro athletes to bring attention to children living in abject poverty. These incredible athletes are taking something that’s often taken for granted, a punt, and turning it into life-saving care for some of the most vulnerable in the world.”
Pinion’s hope is that all the punters in the league would get involved in “Punts for Purpose” or be inspired to start an initiative of their own. When asked about playing against Way this weekend, he concluded, “Teaming up with an opponent during a game for a purpose like this is pretty rare. But at the end of the day, we are all in the fight against poverty, hunger, and oppression together. We’re also all on Team God – the only team that truly matters.”
To learn more about Compassion’s child survival program or to join these athletes in contributing towards “Punts for Purpose,” visit compassion.com/puntsforpurpose.