Georgia football coach Kirby Smart and his wife Mary Beth are giving back to the University of Georgia, as they are donating $1 million to the school in order to fund scholarships for senior’s whose seasons were impacted by COVID-19, the Athletic Association’s new social justice initiative and the expansion of the Georgia football program.
Smart released a statement explaining why he and his felt compelled to donate back to the school.
“Mary Beth and I are where we are because of the University of Georgia, so we feel a duty to give back to the university that opened so many doors for us, brought us together and brought us home,” Smart said. “The current moment presents unique challenges for all of us, whether that’s dealing with the ramifications of this pandemic or acknowledging and addressing racial inequality. We hope this gift can fuel positive change in both areas.”
It had been previously announced that the Smart’s would be donating $150,000 to help start-up the social justice fund, along with Matthew and Kelly Stafford donating $350,000 to the program as well.
Every spring sport athlete at Georgia had their season wiped out by COVID-19, and all of those athletes have been granted an extra year of eligibility. Fall sports athletes as well will not have this season count against their eligibility, meaning seniors could return to compete. The Smart donation does help alleviate financial concerns that comes granting seniors an additional year.
Georgia president Jere Morehead also praised the Smarts for their donation.
“It is tremendously heartening to see former UGA student-athletes like Coach Smart and Mary Beth supporting today’s student-athletes,” Morehead said. “UGA prides itself on providing our students a world-class educational experience, and that experience extends beyond the classroom. The Smart family’s gift will help to address several important extracurricular concerns that are vital to the success of our student-athletes.”
The Kirby Smart Family Foundation started in 2016, has also given over $1 million to charities as well. Kirby and Mary Beth are both former Georgia student-athletes, with Kirby playing football and Mary Beth playing for the women’s basketball team.
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