At the age of 23, Manchester United star Marcus Rashford is charting a path that is impacting humanity and putting food on the table for many vulnerable people. The English professional footballer has been at the forefront of fighting child poverty.
When schools were shut down across the United Kingdom amid the pandemic, he championed a high-profile campaign to ensure that children eligible for free school continued to be fed regularly by the government, according to The Sunday Times.
Under the banner, End Child Food Poverty campaign, the footballer’s advocacy compelled the British Government to change its approach and commit £400 million ($545m) to support vulnerable children across the UK, supporting 1.7 million children for the next 12 months.
Aside from mounting pressure on the British Government to do more to support vulnerable children, Rashford became the ambassador for food poverty charity FareShare and through his effort, generated an estimated $27 million of additional donations to the charity. The $27 million raised, according to the Times, represents 125% of his net worth of £16 million. In May, the Times said Rashford earns $272,000 a week playing for Manchester United.
Rashford is also leading another initiative based on his childhood experiences to get disadvantaged children reading more, with greater access to books. The Manchester United striker persuaded publisher Macmillan Children’s to donate 50,000 books. The footballer reportedly read his first book when he was 17.
Thanks to his charitable works, he earned the top spot on The Sunday Times Giving List in May, making him the youngest person to lead the list. According to Times, Rashford outperformed the Sainsbury family, who are serial benefactors through a network of family charitable trusts.
The Giving List ranks philanthropists by setting the charitable sums given or raised against their net worth in the Sunday Times Rich List.
Last week, Rashford became the youngest person ever to receive an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Manchester for his campaign against child poverty. “I’m here to receive my honorary doctorate for my workaround child poverty,” Rashford said at a ceremony at Old Trafford.
In October 2020, he was also honored by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his campaign to feed vulnerable children during the coronavirus crisis. He received an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the birthday honors list which was postponed from June to reward key workers and others for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rashford was born on October 31, 1997, in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England. He was raised by his mother Mel Rashford. He grew up with his three brothers and a sister. The footballer has told of his own childhood experiences of food poverty. Even though his mother held down three jobs, she could not always put enough food on the table for the family.