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Posted: Monday May 18, 2009 1:58AM; Updated: Tuesday May 19, 2009 12:03AM
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MMQB (cont.)

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Giving back to communities where he's lived and worked is important to Peyton Manning.
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Things like this press release come across my desktop quite often, maybe 50-75 times a year. "PeyBack Foundation awards more than $500,000 in grants to 104 community agencies.'' It was an item about Peyton Manning's annual distribution of money to needy groups in Indianapolis, Tennessee and New Orleans, the three places he's lived, been schooled and worked in his life.

What was different about this one was the magnitude of it. Food banks, local arts centers, tutoring and mentoring groups, youth centers, the New Orleans Ballet, the Knoxville Zoo, the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Trees Indiana (a steward group overseeing the planting of enough trees in the state), and more kid-related support groups.

I want to make it clear that Manning is not the only player who does good charitable works, and if the press release came from the charities of Jason Taylor or Brian Dawkins or Drew Brees or Derrick Brooks, I'd have taken a look at it and maybe made a note of it, or maybe not. I think what caught my eye were the 104 groups getting a chunk of change, and how disparate they were.

I called a couple of them to see about what the money meant to them. School on Wheels, which tutors homeless school children in Indianapolis, got $5,000. Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans got $8,000.

"You'd be surprised at the number of homeless children in Indianapolis,'' said Janet Hiatt of School on Wheels. "In any given year, it's about 1,500. We have 11 locations around the city, with about 400 volunteers, and we're tutoring about 400 to 450 children each year. The $5,000 from Peyton's charity is valuable because it gives us the endorsement to go to other foundations to get larger gifts to help us exist. His $5,000 covers one month of tutoring at one of our centers. Then, once a year, he gets the kids out to the local Children's Museum, and he meets them and interacts with them. He's been really valuable to our agency.''

"The money we get from the [Manning] foundation, we put into our backpack program,'' said Heather Sweeney of the Second Harvest Food Bank. "We put together backpacks of food to send home with children for the weekend who would be at high risk of chronic hunger. There will be maybe 10 to 12 meals and snack items in there, kid-friendly and nutritious. This year, we have 678 children in the program who will benefit from the weekend backpack program. The foundation has been really good to us. We got a grant from them right after Katrina, which helped a lot.''

Just thought you'd like to know about some good being done out there.

And speaking of good things, how about Michael Irvin raising $140,000 -- including $40,000 of his own money -- for the family of paralyzed Dallas scout Rich Behm the other night?

Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week

Miles driven in the past seven days: six.

I love driving. Always have. In fact, I plan to drive for about two weeks of my 18-camp training-camp trip this summer, as I have the last couple of years. But one of the things about urban living that is a little more surprising than I thought is how great it is to not have to drive. I like the luxury of having a car, but at one point it sat, unused, for 11 days in its parking spot while we walked in Boston and took the T and grabbed the occasional cab. You New Yorkers never told me how great it would be to be auto-less. All of this is apropos of nothing; I just keep thinking how strange it is to love driving yet not miss it while living in a city.

Dr. Z/Nothing Is Impossible Event Update

We'll be driving down to New Jersey today for the Paul Zimmerman fund-raiser at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, N.J. (6:15 p.m. open bar, 7 p.m. dinner, The Flaming Redhead speaks at 7:10, and a 7:40 p.m. panel with Tom Coughlin, Rex Ryan, me ... then much other fun to follow). Quite excited about it. Ticket sales to the event are now closed -- if you don't have a ticket, please do not come -- but if you've got one, simply go to Mayfair Farms, and there will be a table in the lobby of the place where you will be able to sign in and enter.

Linda will do this at the event, as will I, but we're exceedingly grateful to those of you who have contributed, particularly in such a hard time in our country. It's humbling. Beyond humbling. And it's also been a great boost to Zim's spirits and his unflagging desire to get back to doing what he does best -- write about football. I have to tell you how touched Linda is by your generosity. "These people are amazing!'' she said to me Saturday. "We are so fortunate!'' And if you know Linda, you know she's fighting with Paul every step of the way. (Corny, I know, but absolutely true.)

If you're looking for any last-minute bargains in the auction area -- which can be found here -- I'd recommend the Martin Brodeur autographed jersey, the Joe Namath autographed jersey, the Coughlin/Eli/Accorsi signed photo from draft day 2004, and a beautiful piece of Steve Sabol artwork done for this event. And if you know any fight fans, or Filipino sports fans, you might want to send the link of this column or the link to the auction site so they may bid on the boxing glove signed by the most exciting fighter on earth, Manny Pacquiao.

More news on the event will follow in Tuesday's column. Looking forward to the football event of the offseason in north Jersey.

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