Former Seahawk Doug Baldwin goes all in on community after retirement

Aug 29, 2019, 10:53 AM | Updated: 2:04 pm

With football in the rear view mirror, former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin is going all in on a community project in Renton, called Family First Community Center.

Gee: How Doug Baldwin changed my life and influenced my family

“Family First is built upon the premise that when you walk through the doors families will be treated like human beings,” Baldwin told KIRO Radio. “Kids will be recognized as individuals who are seen, heard, and loved unconditionally.”

The recently-retired Seahawk has been working with the City of Renton for over five years on this project. But the idea goes further back than that — according to Baldwin, the idea sprouted years ago growing up as a kid in Florida, where he spent time at the Southern Youth Sports Association.

Baldwin describes the Southern Youth Sports Association as his second home. More than that, it was a place that welcomed neighborhood kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds, much like the Cascade area of Renton where the Family First Community Center will be built.

The Cascade community is 25 percent of the Renton population. Twelve percent lives below the poverty line, and 20 percent is 14 years or younger.

When Baldwin was a kid, the Southern Youth Sports Association was vital to his development.

“It was more than just a physical location with resources and services,” he said. “It was about the people who created an environment where I was safe and free to be a kid, and really explore who I was at a very young age.”

These happy memories resurfaced when Baldwin landed in Seattle in 2011 as a rookie, and moved to Renton’s Cascade area. At his favorite teriyaki restaurant in the neighborhood — also a hub in the community for kids — a common topic of conversation surrounded a lack a places children could call their own to hang out and play.

So, he reached out to the city of Renton about his idea to bring a community center to this neighborhood.

As it turns out, Baldwin’s wing-man in this endeavor has been Renton Mayor Denis Law, who has been critical to the project.

“I am incredibly grateful and blessed to be working with this mayor because he has a genuine care and passion about the people he serves,” Baldwin said.

After spending some time with Baldwin, it was clear to Mayor Law that he had a passion for kids. That made moving forward with the project a no-brainer.

“I thought, ‘What better combination could you have to go out and start thinking about how do we make this happen,’ because it will literally change the lives of kids and families in this area,” Law said.

Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin calls for bail reform

Over the last five years, they’ve been building off the $1 million dollars that Baldwin donated to the project. They’ve come up with $10 million through additional private and public donations. They still need another $5 million to complete the center.

Despite being short of that goal right now, they are moving forward with the project.

For Baldwin, the Family First Center is more than just a place for kids to hang out.

“This is a societal issue,” Baldwin said. “We’re seeing it play out more and more where people aren’t recognized as human beings. This facility will address that issue by creating a safe space for people to be creative, explore, and be curious because when you do that the possibilities are endless.”

As to any regret that he won’t be dressing up this season as a Seahawk, Baldwin’s grateful for his experiences, and feels blessed to have come to the Seahawks’ at a time when he was able to be a part of a winning culture.

“Winning a Superbowl was amazing, but time waits for nobody,” Baldwin said. “And I only have a limited time to do the things I want to do now in life.”

The center will break ground in February 2020 on land donated by the Renton School District. They hope to open doors to the community in 2021.

If you want to donate head to the Renton Foundation website here.

Local News

Tacoma parade...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Man arrested after driving through barricades of Santa parade in Tacoma

A man was arrested Sunday afternoon after driving through barricades during a Santa parade in Tacoma, the Tacoma Police Department announced.
13 hours ago
REAL ID airport...
Bill Kaczaraba

REAL ID delayed in WA state, across the nation

The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it is delaying the REAL ID enforcement to May 7, 2025.
13 hours ago
light rail...
L.B. Gilbert

Councilmember calls for light rail ‘starter line’ from Bellevue to Redmond

Sound Transit is exploring starting light rail service on the Eastside despite delays in construction connecting to the main line.
13 hours ago
social workers...
Bill Kaczaraba

Everett developing alternative 911 responses by using more social workers

The city of Everett is developing ways to deal with 911 calls by sending social workers as first responders involving mental health issues.
13 hours ago
L.B. Gilbert

5 rescued by Seattle firefighters from monorail after power outage

The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) responded to the monorail losing power Monday morning, trapping several riders inside.
13 hours ago
L.B. Gilbert

Dead woman found in Thurston County apartment, boyfriend in custody

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a homicide in Lacey Monday morning after finding a woman dead in an apartment.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Former Seahawk Doug Baldwin goes all in on community after retirement