Nate Stupar had to settle in the state of Louisiana before he could even think about launching the State of Hope Foundation.
After playing football at Penn State, the Centre County native adhered to the typical postgraduate strategy and moved around — a lot.
Less typically, he did so while playing linebacker for NFL giants like the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Last March, Stupar signed a three-year contract with the New Orleans Saints. It was enough time to put down roots and maybe start to think about how he and his family could give back.
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Ground zero for their philanthropic efforts is Centre County, where Stupar spent his formative years on the football field at State College Area High School and experienced firsthand people and a quality of life that he has carried with him ever since.
“They gave me so much support and love throughout my years here in State College,” Stupar said.
State of Hope was created to supply the area’s underprivileged youth with that same level of support.
The fledgling nonprofit is partnering with local organizations like the YMCA, Penns Valley Youth Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters to make sure that children have access to whatever they need to be successful.
Stupar can trace his inspiration back to a basketball camp he attended when he was 8 years old. A fellow camper arrived wearing formal shoes because he couldn’t afford to buy sneakers.
“There’s no reason a kid shouldn’t have a pair of basketball shoes. That stuck in my mind and my heart,” Stupar said.
As nice as a decent pair of basketball sneakers would be, right now State of Hope is focused on basic necessities like school supplies or a nutritious meal — all of which still requires a decent amount of fundraising.
From June 24-25, State of Hope will host an elite football training camp that will give high school students an opportunity to connect with mentors from the worlds of college football and the NFL.
“It’s going to be a great time. I love taking my knowledge and being able to pass it on,” Stupar said.
If the training camp is about knowledge, then the celebrity golf tournament scheduled for July 8 at Mountain View County Club is all about the fun.
Failing that, donations to State of Hope can be made on May 9 and 10 as a part of Centre Gives. Stupar would love to one day see his nonprofit expand into other counties.
“The sky is the limit in terms of what we’re trying to do,” Stupar said.