When someone suggested that Courtney Maginnis fire off a tweet to New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett asking him to contribute to a fund-raiser to benefit the reading program at the Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School, she had an inkling that the athlete might respond and chip in.
What she didn’t expect, though, was that Bennett would dig deep, and push the school’s fund-raising beyond its goal by forking over roughly $2,500 to the cause.
“I went on a whim and tweeted him . . . and within two minutes he tweeted back,” said Maginnis, the Roxbury school’s community field coordinator. “He was all about helping us out.”
Maginnis and parents from the Boston school had been trying since the start of the month to drum up $3,000 to pay for a collection of new books for students. The books will be available in a new space within the building where students can go to study and read, Maginnis said.
On Tuesday, with only 15 percent of their goal met, Maginnis wrote to Bennett on social media, and asked, “Help us build our school library?”
Before she knew it, Bennett, whose one-year deal with the Patriots expires at the end of this season, replied.
“Send me the link. I’ll hook it up,” the 29-year-old said.
After Maginnis sent the fund-raising page link to Bennett, the athlete swiftly donated all but the last $5, which was later picked up by another donor.
“We were so excited,” Maginnis said.
Bennett was already familiar with the Boston school. Before Christmas break, the star tight end had visited the Tobin to read his new children’s book, “Hey A.J. It’s Saturday!” to first- and second-grade students. The book, according to the Patriots’ website, is part of a series based on the player’s life and his family. A.J. is based on Bennett’s daughter, Austin.
Maginnis said while there, Bennett, who was featured in the sport section of the 2017 Forbes “30 under 30” list, spent more than an hour talking with students, teachers, and other staff, having his picture taken, and answering questions.
She said his generosity this week reaffirmed something that she already knew: “He is an awesome guy.”
“I can’t say I’m totally surprised, but I’m a little surprised,” she said. “It’s a credit to what an amazing guy he is.”
The school praised Bennett in a tweet after he fulfilled the school’s fund-raising goal.
“Wow, thank you [Martellus] for your generous donation for our school library,” officials said. “We agree with [Maginnis], our students will be so happy!!”
Bennett then responded with a series of emojis, and promised to also send the school some extra copies of his book.
Maginnis said if not for the donation, it would have been difficult to meet the goal, but now the school can focus on other improvement projects.
“It has been difficult to raise the money,” she said. “Him jumping in and helping us really saved the day, for sure.”