Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Throughout his lengthy career as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers — a team he spent 18 seasons playing for — Ben Roethlisberger was always heavily involved in charity work. During that time, he chose to support causes that spoke to his own heart, all while juggling his personal and professional lives. Roethlisberger says, “I always felt it was very important to be able to have a life both on and off the football field.”

But after marrying Ashley Harlan in 2011, and then starting a family together, he says, “When I had kids, priorities started to change, and you understand what it means to be a parent and husband even more.” As such, once he retired from professional football in 2022, the athlete knew that family would have to guide the choices he made in the next chapter of his life. 

Shifting Foundations

After experiencing success as a record-setting athlete at both the collegiate and professional levels, the former Steeler founded the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, primarily offering support to first responders. However, he says, “Once I retired, [I] decided to move on from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation.” 

Instead, he says, “We decided as a family that we wanted to do something that was more meaningful with the family unit,” and thus was born the Roethlisberger Family Foundation. This new venture is still in its infancy, so Roethlisberger is working to pinpoint its precise mission, noting, “It’s really in its very early phases, as we are still working on understanding exactly how we can utilize a farm that we have, and also how God is calling us to better serve families.”

But what’s become clear to him in the process is this: “Our family is very close,” Roethlisberger explains, “and we felt like we wanted to do everything we could to help other families grow closer together, especially utilizing faith.” And while that belief will guide his progress in growing the Roethlisberger Family Foundation, it also informs every philanthropic and business venture with which the athlete engages.

Touching the Lives of Children Everywhere

In addition to supporting family bonding through his fledgling foundation, Ben Roethlisberger also was involved in funding NeoLight, a newborn care technology startup helmed by CEO Vivek Kopparthi, that among other missions is devoted to improving the diagnosis and treatment process for infant jaundice. 

When asked what drew him to the company, Roethlisberger says, “When we met with Vivek, he poured out his heart in terms of helping babies.” As proud parents themselves, Ben noted, “it really touched [mine and Ashley’s] lives and hearts with his passion for helping others.” Particularly, he says, “Having three children, we understand how difficult it can be to be a parent with a newborn, especially when there are medical complications.” To that end, he says, “all the things that NeoLight [can] do with a NICU unit we could get behind, because it just seems like it’s really going to make people’s lives better and save lives.”

Learn more about Ben Roethlisberger’s involvement in Neolight here:

By Manali