Former Howard University Wide Receiver Stewart Hartman, also known as Redd to his friends and family, started his own foundation from an idea he had simply cleaning out his closet. Redd’s World Foundation officially began in 2012 after Hartman bagged up all the clothes he didn’t want anymore and gave them to some of the homeless people in his hometown of New Orleans, LA.
Redd explained to BNTheMix that once he saw the smiles on the faces of the people he gave the bags of clothing to, he knew it was something he wanted to continue to do.
Now five years later, the foundation has grown to a much bigger initiative. The Howard University graduate spoke to BNTM about his organization and how future Hall Of Famer Ray Lewis has helped him stay focused on the cause.
What exactly does the Redd’s World Foundation do and provide?
SH: The mission of Redds World Foundation is to feed & clothe the homeless & empower the youth.
Did your experience playing football have any impact on you wanting to start this foundation?
SH: Playing football has not only had an impact on this foundation but an impact on my life in general. I started playing football at the age of six. Football has taught me that anything God gives to you, he can take it away. [It’s taught me] how to face adversity, how to impact others in a positive way, teamwork leadership, brotherhood, family and it also helped me become a man. I could go on and on about the ways football impacted my life, which in turn helped me in starting this foundation.
Were you involved in community outreach as a child at all?
SH: Yes. In high school I really became involved at West Jefferson High because I was the Class President all four years. I was always busy working in the community, doing fundraisers, bringing toys to the kids in hospitals for the holidays and things like that. I really enjoyed doing that.
With those experiences and now having your own platform, what are some short term goals and long term goals for Redd’s World Foundation?
SH: Short term, I want to continue to build the foundation in different states. Like build teams of friends I went to Howard University with to run the events in each state. My ultimate goal is to go beyond just feeding and clothing the homeless. I want to open up a year round shelter that can provide help to get the homeless back on their feet. [I want to] open Redd’s World Shelter right here in my city, New Orleans, Louisiana.
What has been your proudest moment thus far while giving back?
SH: Last year, during my Feed & Clothe The Homeless Drive. Just to see the growth in my foundation from year one in 2012 until then. We went from clothing about 25 people, to clothing and feeding over 70 homeless people. Just to see my vision actually blossom into what I could only dream of, it feels good. And I hope and pray that we can continue to grow.
Earlier you mentioned empowering the youth as well. And on your website you’ve shown that you talk to different high school classes. Can you explain what you speak about to the youth in those settings?
SH: When I speak to students in these classes, I speak about the transition from high school to college. Like what to expect going into college or the work force, and the importance of being a leader. I then open the floor for anything they want to talk about because I’m still young & look just like them so we are really able to relate to each other.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from someone in relation to your foundation?
SH: I don’t know if you call this advice, but it was something that Ray Lewis said in an interview about his foundation that stuck with me through out my journey of the making of my foundation. He said, “Money don’t make people smile. Serving makes people smile.” This stuck with me because even though I don’t have the money that a rapper or a NFL player may have, with the help of my friends, family, and community, we are able to host events and get the job done. In a city where all you hear about is young people killing one another, [Redd’s World Foundation] makes it possible for people to talk about how all these young folks came together for one cause to help other human being’s.
What advice would you give someone who would want to start his or her own foundation?
SH: Anything that you see in your mind, you can manifest in the material world. If you can hold it in your head, you can hold it in your hand! That’s one of the first laws of the universe.
Do you have any upcoming events coming up for the holiday?
SH: My next event will be December 10th from 12:00pm to 3:00pm, in New Orleans. I teamed up with BTheChange to do this year’s Feed And Clothe The Homeless Drive.
To stay informed with what Redd’s World Foundation is doing and what city they are serving in, follow the foundation on social media @ReddsWorldFoundation.