Homegrown Seahawk Trufant donates with a home-style feel
Earning straight A's is great, but there's another letter Constance Trufant wants to see before she renews a student's college scholarship...
Seattle Times staff reporter
TACOMA — Earning straight A's is great, but there's another letter Constance Trufant wants to see before she renews a student's college scholarship.
The kind that needs a stamp. That's a requirement for a Marcus Trufant Inspirational Scholarship.
"Part of the criteria here, you've got to write me," Constance Trufant says. "Let me know how you're doing, what you're doing."
A homespun touch from the foundation of a homegrown player.
Marcus Trufant grew up in Tacoma, attended Washington State in Pullman and is in his fifth season as a Seahawks cornerback. He started a private foundation in December 2003 and the two most recent tax returns showed he donated $90,000.
Many athletes talk about giving back. Few do it as literally as Trufant, who has pumped money into the institutions that helped raise him.
He gave McCarver Elementary a stipend to buy books for the library. A grant paid for some picnic benches outside Truman Middle School. His grant helped Wilson High School buy athletic equipment.
"That's how it started off, going back to the places that I attended," Marcus says. "I'm trying to broaden my foundation every year. Trying to make it that much bigger, trying to raise that much more money."
The foundation also gave out two $1,500 scholarships to Wilson High students in 2004. That expanded to four scholarships to Wilson students in 2006 and six $1,000 scholarships to other Tacoma high schools.
He upped his donation from $20,000 in 2004 to $70,000 in 2005 so the foundation could rent a suite at Qwest Field. Some of the tickets to Seahawks games were auctioned off as fundraisers, packaged with field passes and jerseys. Some were used to meet with sponsors and potential sponsors.
His parents run the foundation out of their house in Tacoma, which sits on the edge of Lake Louise. Trufant's framed Seahawks jersey hangs over the fireplace. A portrait of the family hangs above the stairwell.
Constance worked for the Social Security Administration. Lloyd worked in a warehouse. They're retired now. Well, kind of. They run the foundation.
"They do most of the work," Marcus says. "But at the same time, we do bring in people to help. People who know how to run a foundation exactly.
"We didn't know much the first year we started, but you bring people in who know what they're doing and then you kind of grasp the concept and then you try to make it happen from there."
His parents don't earn salaries. They're surrounded by volunteers. Friends. Seahawks boosters. People willing to lend a hand. They have an appreciation dinner for those folks every year. Lloyd is a bassist for Smooth, a group that plays R&B at most foundation events.
"We just wanted to keep it small, mom-and-pop-type foundation," Constance says, "though we're growing."
But they haven't come too far from that morning in 2003 when the family sat in a hotel room at the Tacoma Sheraton, watching the NFL draft and looking down as people gathered for Trufant's draft-day party next door at Jillian's.
Marcus didn't have to go too far to begin his NFL career. Just a few miles up the road. That deepened the impact of the foundation started by the hometown kid drafted by the hometown team.
"People can latch on to him more here because they can support him in Seattle, which is his roots," Constance says.
A homegrown player who holds bowling events, dinner auctions and gives out those scholarships with the caveat recipients must let Mom know how they're doing.
And after three years of scholarships, she must have a whole drawer full of letters, right?
"I have a couple of letters," Constance says. "You know how kids are once they get in college."
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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