The Michael Gaines Foundation embraces youth and their value by providing hands-on experiences to promote positive growth, creativeness, achievement and learning key components to find success. Through the efforts of the foundation and the assistance of charitable contributors, we can unite and make a significance difference in our community.

Former NFL Player and Tallahassee Native Michael Gaines

launched his foundation with a mission to improve the lives of others through a commitment to service. The foundation aims to positively impact the lives of youth by encouraging them to reach for their goals and empower them to be well rounded citizens. The foundation is expected to attract anyone in the community who wishes to play a role in the cause. 

Michael Gaines was born in Tallahassee, Florida on March 30, 1980. He was named first-team all-state his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, he recorded 20 receptions for 535 yards and nine touchdowns, and added 110 tackles on defense. Gaines was regarded as the number one tight end in the state of Florida. He played six different positions at Florida High School and was a heavily recruited as a high school senior before committing to University of Alabama and completing his education and college football career at University of Central Florida.

At University of Central Florida, Gaines played in 23 games and made four starts. His career totals include 22 receptions for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Gaines played in 11 games as a sophomore with one start. He recorded 11 receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown, and caught at least one pass in seven games. As a junior in 2002, Gaines played in 12 games with three starts. He finished the season with 11 receptions for 191 yards and two touchdowns. As a senior, he was selected to the Blue-Gray game. 

Gaines was selected in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He went on to be one of four rookie draft choices to start a game for the Panthers in 2004. His first career NFL touchdown came against the Green Bay Packers in 2005 as he caught a 19-yard pass from quarterback Jake Delhomme. The seven-year pro has played for six teams in his NFL career. Gaines has spent time with the Carolina Panthers (2004-06), Buffalo Bills (2007), Detroit Lions (2008), Chicago Bears (2009), and Cleveland Browns (2009). He had a career-high 25 receptions in 2007 with the Buffalo Bills, and a career-high 260 receiving yards with the Detroit Lions in 2008. His last year in the league was with the Houston Texans (2010).

Gaines is well known by family and friends as a community supporter with a big heart for giving to families and individuals in need. The Michael Gaines Foundation, established in 2005, is dedicated to cultivating the lives of under-served youth by providing resources and programs designed to empower, encourage and educate the youth towards positive growth.  Such programs include hunger program during the holidays, mentoring youth in the Big Bend Area and exposing young adults to various cultures.

In 2012, The Michael Gaines Foundation re-established in Tallahassee with a mission to improve the lives of others through a commitment to service.