It's Matthew Slater's birthday. Can we get an awwww yeah?
As a team captain, Bart Starr Award recipient and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, Slater's reputation goes well beyond his Pro Bowler play. Slater is a man who is committed to pouring back into his community. He and his wife, Shahrzad, are focus their work in five areas: education, poverty and hunger, human trafficking, persecuted church and marginalized people.
To celebrate his birthday, we've compiled a list of a few of his favorite organizations to support. Learn about their work, and if you're able, consider donating in honor of Slater's birthday.
Ron Burton Training Village
As a former Ron Burton Community Service Award winner, the Slater and his family regularly visit the camp, speaking with the kids how spend their summers learning to act in love and kindness like Ron Burton Sr. The RBTV is founded in love, peace, patient and humility. With Slater's devotion to his faith, these are pillars that shape him, as well.
You can support the Ron Burton Training Village here.
Though Slater and Chris Long only shared an NFL field together for a season, it was certainly a special season. The Patriots defeated the Falcons in Super LI, and Long's organization, Waterboys, raised $21,744 towards a "Super Bowl well" in the week leading up to the game.
Long started Waterboys after hiking Mount Kilimanjaro in 2013. While in Tanzania, Long learned about sustainable water wells and how scarce drinking water was in the country. Two years later, Long started Waterboys by recruiting fellow NFL players to raise money for wells. Their roster has continued to grow and they now provide sustainable wells in Kenya and the United States, as well.
Slater continues to support Waterboys and his former teammate in his mission. You can learn more about Waterboys here.
International Justice Mission
Every year, NFL players are able to highlight organizations they support with My Cause, My Cleats. They rock custom cleats representing their chosen organizations. The cleats are then auctioned off to benefit those non-profits.
In the past, Slater has used this as an opportunity to shine a light on International Justice Mission, an organization dedicated to rescuing enslaved people all over the world and eliminate the slave trade.
In 2018, Slater said it was a shock to learn about the issues the organization works to combat.
"They were people who had been in situations, had helped rescue women and children, and you wouldn't think that this stuff was going on in 2018. I think that we're so blessed in the circles that we're in here, but this stuff is going on," Matthew said. "It's going on in America and it's going on globally and it really is eye opening. It really tugged at my heart strings when I heard this accounts of what was going on."
You can learn more about IJM here.
The ELISHA Project
In addition to IJM, Slater has represented a local organization as part of My Cause, My Cleats. The ELISHA Project is based in Rhode Island and aims to help provide practical needs for families in their community, like meals and clothes. However, more than physical needs, the ELISHA Project wants to provide love and hope for families going through tough times.
The organization's founder George Ortiz Jr. drew from his own life experiences to create change. As a child, he arrived home one day to find his 7-year-old brother had died due to his mother's negligence, he wrote on the organization's website. He said she was a good mother who fell on difficult times, and in adulthood, Ortiz wants to provide hope for families who are in difficult times of their own.
You can learn more about the ELISHA Project here.
Compassion International is an organization focused on lifting children out of poverty with Christianity at its core. Through child sponsorship, the organization takes a holistic approach to help children around the world develop on all fronts, including physical, social, economic and spiritual development. They also provide solutions for critical needs like medical emergencies, clean drinking water and disaster relief.
You can learn more about Compassion International here.
Open Doors International
Slater is a man of his faith, and so the final organization he supports is Open Doors International, an organization dedicated to supporting persecuted Christians around the world. It provides emergency relief and practical support, as well as training church leaders locally in more than 70 countries.
You can learn more about Open Doors International here.
Celebrating Matthew Slater's birthday today, Sept. 9, with some of our favorite photos of the Patriots captain and special teams ace.