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Vonnie Holliday Is Slightly More Philanthropic Than Denzel Washington

Posted by Matt Terl on December 31, 2010 – 3:05 pm

It seems that Lorenzo Alexander and Carlos Rogers aren’t the only people receiving off-the-field awards as the 2010 season winds down. Defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday was also honored yesterday as one of the Top 10 Black Celebrity Philanthropists of 2010 according to Blackgivesback.com.

Holliday lost his sister-in-law to brain cancer in 2008, and since then has made a priority of raising awareness of this disease; in 2010, this included a fund-raiser with Saks Fifth Avenue that raised over $10,000 to benefit a a fund Holliday established in his sister-in-law’s name.

“Before my sister-in-law received the brain tumor diagnosis,” Holliday told Blackgivesback.com, “I didn’t personally know anyone who has suffered or died from brain cancer. After you watch someone you love suffer with the disease, you learn a lot. I want to make sure people are aware of the disease because it is one that is rarely talked about in the news media.”

Holliday — who isn’t even sure how his name made it into consideration — actually showed up at number 2 on the list, just behind first-place finisher Big Boi (of Outkast) and just ahead of Denzel Washington and his wife. It’s that kind of list, and even Holliday couldn’t help but be bemused at the company he found himself keeping. “My publicist called me up yesterday, sent me a text,” Holliday told me, “and I was just, like, what am I reading? Russell Simmons, Alicia Keys, like…that’s some pretty big names. Huge names.”

Holliday is more familiar with some of the people on the list than, say, I would be — “I’ve met Big Boi, because I live in Atlanta. Russell Simmons, I did some work with his Diamond Empowerment Fund. I’m a part of that, Athletes for Africa. So I do know him,” Holliday said — but it’s still rarefied air. “to be mentioned-I mean, those guys, of course, raise, I know, tons more money than I do. But I think what probably put me over the edge is maybe just my time that I give, personally, along with our efforts in trying to raise awareness to certain issues, especially brain cancer. So that’s pretty cool.”

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