News and analysis
January 29, 2015

Super (Generosity) Bowl: Which Team Has the Edge?

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with Kennedy, 7, a patient at the Seattle Children's Hospital.

The New England Patriots are a slight favorite to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday, but which team (and their respective region) holds the edge in terms of generosity?

The Chronicle takes a look.

Which city is more generous?


According to The Chronicle’s 2013 report on "How America Gives," Seattle-area residents gave an average of 3.09 percent of their income to charity, with a median contribution of $3,038. On the list of the 50 biggest metropolitan cities, Seattle came in at number 40.

Boston ranked 47th, with an average giving ratio of 2.54 percent and a $2,078 median donation.

Which team’s foundation gives more?


The Patriots are the second-highest-valued in the NFL (after the Dallas Cowboys), worth $2.6- billion, according to Forbes. That’s about twice the value of the Seahawks.

In 2013, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation gave $3.12-million in grants, according to public filings.

The Seattle Seahawks Charitable Foundation gave just over $160,000 in grants in the same time period.

Which team owner is more generous?


Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who made his wealth through paper manufacturing and venture-capital investments, gives primarily through his family foundation. With this late wife, Myra Kraft, Mr. Kraft has given more than $100-million to charity, The Boston Globe has reported.

In 2013, Mr. Kraft put more than $5-million into his family foundation. The foundation gave more than $6-million in grants, including over $1-million each to Brandeis University and the Boston-based Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, the Microsoft-co-founder and founder of Vulcan Capital investment company, gave $206-million in 2013, ranking 11th on The Chronicle’s most recent list of America’s most generous donors. The bulk of it—$200-million—went into to his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which supports arts and culture, education, and social-service programs, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. The foundation awarded $38.7-million in grants last year, including $125,593 given on behalf of the Seahawks.

Mr. Allen signed the Giving Pledge in 2010.

Does either team have a charitable standout on its roster?


Every year, each team in the league nominates a player who has made an outstanding commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.

For the Patriots, this year’s nominee is safety Devin McCourty, who won the team’s award for community service. With his twin brother, Mr. McCourty worked to raise awareness and money for sickle-cell disease.

The Seahawks nominated quarterback Russell Wilson, who for several years has made weekly visits to patients and families at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Mr. Wilson has also launched an effort to raise money and awareness for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Though neither Mr. McCourty nor Mr. Wilson are finalists for the award, which will be announced January 31, both receive a $1,000 donation from the NFL Foundation and Nationwide Insurance to the charity of their choice.

Generosity is tougher to measure than rushing yards and field goals. The Patriots gave significantly more through their foundation, but by two other measures the Seahawks have an edge.

This match-up is too close to call.

Send an e-mail to Eden Stiffman.