Support Strengthen Inspire
The NFLPA’s Professional Athletes Foundation (PAF) and this platform were created for and inspired by the players and their support networks. We hope you explore all that is possible through the PAF.
We are here for You
We support and inspire players on their journey from active NFL careers to the endless possibilities off the field.
& GENE UPSHAW
WHERE IT BEGAN
PAF Founder, Gene Upshaw, was the Oakland Raiders’ first-round choice in the first combined AFL/NFL draft in 1967. Shortly into his career, Upshaw was thrusted into Union life as one year after being drafted, the NFLPA voted to have its first player strike in hopes of better compensation.
From Player to
In 1971, the NFLPA opened it’s first office in Washington, DC, and in Oakland, now veteran player, Upshaw, is leading a 8-4-2 Raiders to a 2nd place division title. 13 seasons in, Gene was elected President of the NFLPA where he and other player representatives negotiated a monumental Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which brought severance pay, the right to second medical opinions, NFLPA certified agents, and more. Gene remained President until players selected him as the new Executive Director in 1983 where he remained for the next 25 years.
to the game
In the Spring of 1990, under Gene’s leadership, the NFLPA founded a non-profit organization, the Professional Athletes Foundation (PAF). No stranger to the game, Upshaw recognized the many challenges players faced after their playing careers concluded. Through his namesake, the PAF’s Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust (GU PAT) grant awarded its first $1,000 grant to a former NFL player.
His Legacy TO
$25M AND COUNTING
Over the years, the PAF has rapidly grown and is now the leading, longest standing, and most robust former player support organization, having awarded upwards of $25,000,000 to players in need and engaged +5,000 members through various well-being initiatives. Sadly, Gene Upshaw lost his battle to cancer on August 20, 2008 though his legacy of helping players is felt through the continued work of the NFLPA and the PAF.
Kindbridge partners with NFLPA’s Professional Athletes Foundation (PAF) for first-of-its-kind mental health program
Participating in PAF programs helped me see I have a brotherhood here within the NFLPA & PAF. Knowing we have the support available & learning that people are going through challenges right with you, that’s big for me.
One of the PAF’s strengths is their people. They connect incredibly well with us players. It’s comforting to know when you call you will speak to someone who gets football players. They get it. It’s a safe space for us.
When my father unexpectedly passed away in 2016, the NFLPA supported me & my family during a time when we needed it most. The PAF provided comfort & guidance while the GUPAT fund relieved the stress associated with funeral finances allowing me to put my energy into planning the beautiful celebration of life ceremony that my dad deserved.
The PAF is a strong community with a unique network of former players who get what you’re going through. We’ve got you covered, come be a part of it with us.