By Nick Infante
In 1962, Lindy Infante started at fullback for the University of Florida and would eventually go on to receive All-SEC honors and be named captain by his senior year. Following his success in college, Infante decided to become a coach, eventually rising to a head coaching position in the NFL (Green Bay and Indianapolis) and earning NFL Coach of the Year honors (Green Bay, 1989).
His world before all of this success was nothing close to glamorous. At a very young age, Infante lost both his mother and father and was orphaned, along with his older sister in Miami, Fla. Despite all the obstacles against him, he gained opportunities to participate in football through the Boys and Girls Club of Miami, which eventually propelled him into the career he is known for today.
Fast forward to 2017, two years after his passing. Infante’s son Brad and wife Stephanie decided to start the Lindy Infante Foundation in his name. As a nonprofit organization in Columbus, Ohio, the Lindy Infante Foundation provides scholarships, equipment, and free camp opportunities for underprivileged children involved in sports.
“Our biggest goal is to simply provide even more opportunities for underprivileged children than Lindy would have been able to receive when he was in the same position years ago,” Stephanie Infante, the foundation president, said. “There was such a lack of community involvement and after school programs in the city of Columbus that we decided it was time to make a change.”
Their valiant efforts have already made a tremendous impact on the community, partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Ohio by gifting them $225,000 in donations to create the first Lindy Infante Foundation athletic league, which gives 70 boys and girls the chance to participate in competitive sports. Following this amazing opportunity, the foundation was able to partner with the Second and Seven football camp which takes place in Hilliard, Ohio. It was at this camp that the Lindy Infante Foundation paid in full for over 30 children from different boys and girls clubs across the city to learn from both professional and college-level football players.
“Being able to watch these children first-hand participate in a rather expensive camp was an unforgettable experience,” Stephanie said.
Moving into their third year as a nonprofit, The Lindy Infante Foundation aims to not only begin to provide more scholarships for children, but open more camps across the city. They want to be able to provide even more in free equipment and eventually go from city to state to nationwide in the next ten years.
“The sport of football meant so much to my father,” Brad Infante said. “So it means so much to us to be able to honor him in a way so reflective of the guidance he lacked in his past.”
Truly this foundation is headed in an excellent direction, as it recently received honors from The Aspen Institute, an organization also dedicated to child involvement in sports. It was at the annual Project Play Summit in Detroit that Stephanie Infante was honored in front of many amazing individuals such as Kobe Bryant. Certainly, with this sort of support and understanding from not only the Columbus community but other larger organizations, the Lindy Infante Foundation will continue to thrive and grow.
(Nick Infante, an IMC major in the School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss, is the grandson of Lindy Infante.)