Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre used his charity foundation to donate more than $130,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi’s athletic foundation from 2018-2020, according to The Athletic’s Katie Strang and Kalyn Kahler.
His foundation, Favre 4 Hope, has helped support “underserved and disabled children and breast cancer patients” for years. That foundation gave Southern Mississippi’s athletic foundation $60,000 in 2018 — $50,000 more than it gave any other charity in the same year. It gave more than $46,800 in 2019, and then more than $26,100 in 2020.
Throughout that entire time, Favre 4 Hope gave no other charitable organization more than $11,000, per the report.
Favre 4 Hope also donated $60,000 to Oak Grove High School’s booster club in 2015. Favre’s daughter was a volleyball player at the high school at the time, and the donation was then given to the school with the stated purpose to “assist to build athletic facility.” The school opened a nearly 15,000 square foot volleyball facility later that year.
While it’s not explicitly clear what Favre’s donations to Southern Mississippi were for or if there were any conditions placed on them, they don't appear to have any relation to the charity’s purpose — which, again, is to help disadvantaged children and breast cancer patients.
“You can’t say you’re raising money for one purpose and then spend it on something totally different,” CharityWatch executive director Laurie Styron told The Athletic. “Charities have an ethical obligation, and in some cases a legal obligation, to fulfill the intentions of its donors in the way funds are spent.”
Both Favre’s attorney and his agent, who is also on the board of directors at Favre 4 Hope, declined to comment to The Athletic.
Text messages have shown Favre pushed Mississippi state officials to help fund a new volleyball arena and indoor football facility at Southern Mississippi — even after then-Gov. Phil Bryant told him that misusing state funds could be illegal. Some of the funds that Favre wanted to use came from a federal program meant to help needy families.
In total, more than $5 million was moved from state funds to help build the volleyball facility at the university, where Favre’s daughter recently played.
Multiple people in the alleged scheme have pleaded guilty for their roles. Favre is also a defendant in a civil case brought by the state after he reportedly received $1.1 million in welfare funds, but has yet to pay back $228,000 in interest.
Favre has not been charged with a crime.
Favre 4 Hope was founded in 1995 by Favre and his wife, Deanna, during his early days with the Packers. Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, which prompted Favre’s foundation to focus on helping provide financial aid for other breast cancer patients.