UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Seth Stammler wants $50,000 badly.
No, he isn’t looking for a new contract or more incentives for his current MLS deal. Rather, Stammler wants to provide drinking water and educational opportunities to those in need in Haiti — and he needs your help to do it.
The midfielder's namesake organization, The Seth Stammler Foundation, is the Red Bulls' representative in a program called The Pepsi Refresh Project.
The project is essentially a competition in which each MLS club submits its own idea for a charitible application. MLS fans get to vote on which proposed community initiative is the most impressive, and the winner is awarded $50,000 in grant money.
But why Haiti?
Several years ago, Stammler traveled there for a humanitarian trip along with then-teammates Jozy Altidore and Jerrod Laventure, and musician Wyclef Jean [READ HERE].
“Something about the island and the people just moved me,” Stammler told MLSsoccer.com. “It is a special place, and I have a special feeling for the people of Haiti.”
Last December, Stammler revisited Haiti just weeks before a devastating earthquake left the island nation in rubble. The Seth Stammler Foundation is now providing scholarships for dozens of young adults to continue their education, and it has also overseen the drilling of a well that provides a community with fresh drinking water.
“The well gives water to somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 people in the town each day,” Stammler said. “Fresh, clean water is in short supply in the country, especially now after the earthquake. The wells give the people that fresh water and help with minimizing disease.”
About a month ago, alongside club community services manager Christina Giunta, Stammler set about putting together a proposal.
Stammler says that if he wins the charity grant, he will split the $50,000 prize evenly between two arms of the foundation.
“Half the money will go to providing academic scholarships to young adults who wouldn’t be able to continue their education without the finances,” he said. “The other half would go towards expanding our well project.”
Stammler estimates that they could build at least three wells with that type of money from the grant.
“We could provide drinking water for around 30,000 people a day,” Stammler said. “And the education money can help dozens get a year of education in a place where education is expensive and not easily available.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012.