News and analysis
February 04, 2016

Broncos vs. Panthers: Scoring the Generosity Bowl

Kent Nishimura, The Denver Post, Getty Images
The Denver Broncos have given $538,000 to charity, and the team, including David Bruton, has worked with many local charities, including a Bronco's clinic at the National Sports Center for the Disabled.
The Carolina Panthers are favored to win Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, with the team’s star quarterback, Cam Newton, picked by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the game’s MVP award.

But do Mr. Newton and his team hold the edge in charitable giving?

The Chronicle took a look at both the Panthers and the Denver Broncos, their star quarterbacks, and their communities to find out.

Which town is more generous?

Residents of Mecklenburg County, N.C., where the Panthers and their hometown of Charlotte are located, gave an average of 3.28 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity, with a median contribution of $3,346 in 2012, according to The Chronicle’s 2014 report "How America Gives."

Residents of Denver, which is a municipality with a consolidated city and county government, gave 2.68 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity, with a median contribution of $2,492.

Advantage: Panthers

Which organization is more generous?

In 2015, the Broncos gave $538,000 in corporate donations and from Denver Broncos Charities, a nonprofit the team operates, to support myriad programs and causes, such as youth football leagues and local Habitat for Humanity projects. Part of that money also went toward the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club branch, the team said.

The Panthers declined to provide giving numbers to The Chronicle.

Sarah Szabo, community relations coordinator for the Panthers, said the organization does not release giving data from Carolina Panthers Charities, the organization’s donor-advised fund. The fund — which supports youth football leagues and provides grants to nonprofits and education-related programs — is managed by the Foundation for the Carolinas.

However, the team did release numbers on its Keep Pounding Fund, which has raised and donated more than $1.9 million for cancer research since 2004. The team said approximately $100,000 has been donated in the past year.

Advantage: Broncos (with bonus points for transparency)

Which star quarterback’s foundation gives more?

Mr. Newton’s foundation gave $125,500 in grants to charitable causes in 2013, the most recent figures available at press time.

Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning’s foundation gave $1.22 million in grants in 2014, the most recent data available. Mr. Manning’s foundation also gave $683,300 in 2013, according to the organization’s informational tax return.

Mr. Newton’s foundation gave to schools in North Carolina in 2013, while Mr. Manning’s foundation has given to various causes, including food banks and youth-development nonprofits.

Both players have a lot of money to contribute. Mr. Manning signed a five-year, $96 million contract with the Broncos in 2012; Mr. Newton inked a five-year, $118.5 million deal in 2015. Both also have major endorsement deals that add significantly to their incomes.

While Mr. Manning’s Peyback Foundation gave more in the most recent year for which figures on both funds are available, the philanthropy field may not be level. Mr. Newton has been playing pro football for only five years, while Mr. Manning, who debuted in 1998 with the Indianapolis Colts, has had more time to accumulate wealth and pour it into his foundation.

Advantage: A toss-up

Final score

As with last year’s Super Bowl generosity analysis, the results are a bit muddled. That said, we know that Mr. Manning’s foundation gave more than Mr. Newton’s in 2013, and people from the Charlotte area dig deeper for charity than do folks in Denver.

And if there were an award for transparency, that would go to the Broncos.

Send an email to Timothy Sandoval.