Thanks to a strong showing of support by "Who Dey Nation," Cincinnati Bengals' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee Ted Karras captured the top prize in this year's Charity Challenge. To mark the occasion, Nationwide will award a $35,000 donation to Karras' charity partner, the Village of Merici, a supportive community for adults living with disabilities.
The Bengals center has been a longtime supporter of the nonprofit organization based in his hometown of Indianapolis and is grateful that the win will help advance the unique mission of Merici. "Thank you to everyone who helped us win this challenge! The support from this Cincy community has been unbelievably special," said Karras. "The Village of Merici is a community for adults with developmental disabilities rooted in love and service, and all of us are so grateful for your kindness and support."
To commemorate its tenth year as presenting sponsor of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, Nationwide increased the Charity Challenger winner's donation by $10,000 this year, increasing the top prize from $25,000 to $35,000.
Nationwide created Charity Challenge to further elevate and showcase the work that each of the 32 nominees are doing to improve the lives of others. The contest, which ran online and via X (formerly Twitter) from Dec. 5, 2023 to Jan. 8, 2024, gives NFL fans the opportunity to support their favorite nominees and gives players a chance to earn donations from Nationwide to benefit their chosen charity.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson finished second and earns $10,000 for his charitable beneficiary. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and previous Charity Challenge winner Patrick Mahomes finished third in voting this year and his charity of choice will receive $5,000.
"This year's Nationwide Charity Challenge received a record-setting 7.4 million votes and continued to rally fans around important causes," said Ramon Jones, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Nationwide. "Congratulations to Ted and the Village of Merici on taking first place, and thanks to everyone who participated in support of their favorite nominees."
Since becoming presenting sponsor of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2014, Nationwide has contributed more than $2.3 million to the charitable foundations represented by the various nominees.
The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide will be announced during the NFL Honors broadcast on Thursday, February 8, the week of Super Bowl LVIII, at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
For more information on the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide, visit www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.