Famous Philanthropists: Caitlin Clark

April 15, 2024

An incredible young woman has dominated the sports world in the past few months.

Now a household name, Caitlin Clark's basketball career has been on the lips of sports commentators and journalists across the country. Her dominant performance during the Big 10 Championships and March Madness propelled her to the echelons of greatness, cementing her legacy as the NCAA's all-time lead scorer. Caitlin has inspired countless girls to follow their passions for athletics, blazing a trail for female athletes everywhere.

But there is more to Caitlin than just basketball. She's also has a heart of gold and a HawkEYE for making a difference.

Caitlin Clark and her Iowa Hawkeyes jersey. PHOTO: CAITLIN CLARK/INSTAGRAM

Caitlin Clark - From Humble Beginnings to World-Changer Status

Caitlin's story is one so many of us can relate to. Born and raised in West Des Moines, Iowa, Caitlin's humble upbringing has kept her grounded through the fame her talents have brought her. A natural athlete since she was little, Caitlin excelled not only at basketball but also in volleyball, softball, and soccer.

John Mac, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At Dowling Catholic High School, she became a local legend, earning accolades like McDonald's All-American and Gatorade State Player of the Year. But even with her rising fame, Caitlin never forgot the importance of community.

Caitlin's Heart of Gold

Fueled by the experiences that shaped her own success (education, nutrition, and sports!), Caitlin established the Caitlin Clark Foundation. This amazing organization aims to empower young people and strengthen communities, ensuring all kids have the chance to thrive.

  • Educational Equity: The foundation understands the importance of a strong education. They support programs that provide after-school tutoring or early literacy initiatives, creating a level playing field for all students.
  • Fueling Young Athletes: Knowing firsthand the impact of proper nutrition on performance, the foundation fights food insecurity. They partner with food banks and school lunch programs to ensure young athletes have access to healthy and affordable food.
  • The Power of Play: The foundation recognizes the transformative power of sports. They support youth sports programs and initiatives that make athletics accessible to all children, fostering teamwork, discipline, and leadership skills.

Food Bank Fanatic: Putting Her Star Power to Work

Caitlin's passion for nutrition comes to life through supporting food scarcity issues in her community. Partnering with local food banks like the Coralville Food Pantry, Caitlin spearheaded a food drive for the nonprofit. Fans who brought personal care items got to meet their hero, and it helped the drive smash its goal by over $22,000!


Joseph L. Murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Inspire Your Students with Caitlin's Story:

Caitlin's journey, from Iowa hometown hero to superstar athlete and philanthropist, is a powerful example of using your talents to give back. Use her story to spark conversations with your students about:

  • Giving Back is a Slam Dunk! Chat with your crew about how even small actions can make a big difference. Caitlin's story shows how someone with a platform can use it for positive change. Her willingness to get involved in the food drive proves giving back doesn't require fancy things – it's about using your time and talents to make a positive impact. Use our Project Heart 3Ts activity to help students discover their time, talent and treasure and how using their unique superpowers can make a difference in their community. 
  • Find Your Cause: Just like Caitlin with sports and healthy eating, encourage your students to identify issues they care about. This personal connection is the key to keeping them motivated and making giving back even more meaningful. Need some ideas? Check out our list of causes and nonprofits. Once your students have identified a cause or nonprofit that speaks to their hearts, use our Mascot Buddies and our Slam Dunk for Good activities to engage them in fun conversations about what nonprofits are, why they are important and how students can help their mission. 
  • We Before Me Mentality: Caitlin is a powerhouse athlete, but she knows that to truly succeed, you have to be a team, on and off the court. Encourage your students to think about their community's needs and how those impact everyone. Go a step further and challenge them to think of ways they can solve one of those problems using their 3Ts as a small group or class! Use our Community Court Press activity to get students thinking about the needs they see. Ready to create a service project? Here are five easy steps to take for a project idea to become a reality!
A Legacy in Impact

Caitlin's incredible journey from small town to big time is one for the history books. But it is Caitlin's passion for serving others and making a difference, using her talents, platform and influence to create impact, that sets her apart and is the stuff legacy is made of. 

John Mac, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Go Deeper With Your Students

Help your students be all-star givers with our full suite of Project Heart resources! Register to access all of our FREE materials and tools to inspire your students to be philanthropists who create a legacy of giving!