With all the attention on the World Cup, Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior—such a powerhouse that he's known simply by his first name—is using his celebrity to bring attention to the necessity for clean water in his native country.
Neymar's nonprofit organization, Neymar Jr. Project Institute, teamed up with PayPal to launch Competition for Good, an initiative for fans to compete to bring clean water to Brazil. Through July 13, fans can donate money through PayPal on behalf of one of the 32 national teams, each representing a geographic area in Brazil. (For example, donations in the name of the U.S. will provide resources for São Paulo, the team's headquarters during the World Cup.)
All proceeds will go to Waves for Water, an NGO that provides communities with free water filters. One filter can provide clean water for 100 people for up to five years and costs just $50.
PayPal will also donate $3 on behalf of Team U.S.A. for every person who uses its app to pay for a meal at Eat24 restaurants. In addition, the payments service matched all donations made during the June 12 match from the point when Neymar scored until the end of the game, and will do so again if the soccer god scores a goal during the June 23 game between the U.S. and Cameroon. (The company also made the pledge in the June 17 matchup against Mexico, but it ended 0-0.)
"PayPal is committed to building a worldwide network for good that inspires everyone to take action. We couldn't be more proud to work with international sports superstar Neymar Jr., his Institute and Waves for Water to power the people economy by supporting a cause that will make a real difference in the lives of thousands in Brazil,” said Carey Kolaja, PayPal’s vp of global product solutions.
Fans can also raise money by bidding on signed Neymar gear—including soccer balls, cleats, flat-brim hats, and Brazil and Barcelona jerseys—through an exclusive eBay auction.
"I am extremely proud to work with PayPal to support Waves for Water," Neymar said in a statement. "It deeply saddens me that so many people from my home country of Brazil have limited access to clean water, a gift so many of us take for granted. Through this campaign I hope we can touch people's lives in a meaningful way and raise enough funds to bring safe, clean water to communities in need across my beloved Brazil."