The idea of raising two ultra-competitive boys, raging with unfettered testosterone and relentless ambition, sounds like a challenge for any mother. Now imagine that both of those kids grew up to be superstar football players who lived out their Super Bowl dreams in front of the world.
It’s not a hallucination for Donna Kelce. It is very much her reality after watching her two sons — Jason Kelce and Travis Kelce — go from chickens in her roost to two of the biggest names in the sport. Donna Kelce carried a proud-yet-sarcastic smile at her son’s Beer Bash fundraiser in Sea Isle City on June 28 as she recalled parenting them back in those early days in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
“Both of them were pretty bad. They were constantly fighting,” Donna Kelce said. “I mean, you don’t become somebody famous when you’re just trying to chill. It just doesn’t happen unless you’re a really good comedian.”
Donna Kelce: A mother always knows
Donna Kelce had a pretty good feeling her sons would be successful at whatever they did despite their polar-opposite personalities. Jason was more the blue-collar grinder, whereas Travis could lay the charm on thick in a heartbeat. With only a two-year age difference, Jason and Travis played off each other’s strengths.
“He was always very loud and he had no problem getting up in front of people and performing,” Donna Kelce said of Jason. “Whether he did sports or saxophone or whatever he just always got really focused on what he was doing. I knew he would be good at whatever he did even if he was just somebody that had his own small little business. He just was a very focused individual. Travis is just very charismatic and that was just kind of him, but they kind of fed off each other. They build each other up.”
Donna Kelce gained national fame herself at Super Bowl LVII and didn’t shy away from the spotlight. She surprised her sons with homemade cookies during opening night festivities, then got picked to do the official coin toss. Donna Kelce’s custom jersey — which visually split her maternal loyalty between the Eagles and Chiefs in two — was shipped off to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
At the Beer Bash charity fundraiser, Donna Kelce was wearing a t-shirt showing her grabbing her boy’s butts and it read: “My Mom Can’t Lose.” The third-annual celebrity bartending event raised $380,000 (and counting) for the Eagles Autism Foundation and Team 62. Donna Kelce couldn’t have been any prouder, losing all traces of that previous sarcasm as she put a tidy bow on everything her sons had accomplished.
“To see their success and know that they followed their dreams and do what they really love to do, that’s a good feeling as a mom,” Donna Kelce said. “And I’m so proud and happy that they give back to the community. It turned out pretty good.”
Jason Kelce Continues to Grow His Legend
Jason Kelce was the impetus for the charity fundraiser which was held at the Ocean Drive bar in Sea Isle City on June 28. The All-Pro center endured a whirlwind day that saw him rise at 6 a.m. to greet first responders and veterans via Zoom in support of Wawa Hoagie Day, then joined his brother for a hoagie-making competition at the beach. He was running on fumes by the time the doors officially opened to the public at 4 p.m.
“I really do think that most athletes want to do give back, especially in Philadelphia,” Kelce said. “You’re such a part of the community, and you’re a part of everyone’s lives, and what’s at the forefront of the city that you can’t help but really be put in a position where you can actively help these initiatives.”
Kelce spear-headed the initiative three years ago as the world slowly awoke from its COVID-19 slumber. It was supposed to be a casual thing in the middle of the summer, but it soon took on a life of its own — and it was heavily nurtured and encouraged by the organization.
“I said we should turn this into a philanthropy and he just agreed and I don’t know if he knew what he agreed to in that moment but three years later here we are,” said Ryan Hammond, Executive Director for the Eagles Autism Foundation.
This year’s event raised $380,000 (and counting). It was a new record, with every single dollar pledged to go toward autism research, education, and advocacy.
“I think philanthropy is a really competitive space, so every single dollar raised under Jeffrey Lurie’s leadership is just something that is just kind of credible because you can give to other organizations where maybe a quarter on the dollar makes a difference,” Hammond said. “To know that every single dollar is going to make a difference, it’s measurable, it’s innovative, and it’s really going to transform lives.”
Of course, Kelce always needs a fun hook. The beer-chugging angle — Kelce downed a 30-ounce beer in 5.7 seconds — proved once again that he is not only a man of the people but the undisputed people’s champion.
Hammond added: “And Jason Kelce is a really good example that you can use your talents and turn them into fundraising dollars and for him it’s chugging beer.”
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire