Jason Kelce isn’t just an all-star for the Philadelphia Eagles on the field — he and his wife, Kylie Kelce, are also champions for the team’s charitable efforts.
The couple, who tied the knot in 2018, have worked closely with the Eagles Autism Foundation throughout Jason’s NFL career. The organization centers itself on “research, advocacy, empathy and unity” in an effort to raise awareness and funds for those in the autism community.
For Kylie, the foundation’s mission is one that’s close to her heart. “I feel a little bit like a broken record at this point,” she said on a September episode of Jason and Travis Kelce‘s “New Heights” podcast while describing her personal connection to the charity. “But I had a neighbor growing up who’s more like a brother than a neighbor. His name is Tim. Now our girls call him Uncle Tim. When I was growing up, he called me and my sister his sisters, my mom his girlfriend and my dad the boss.”
Kylie’s friendship with Tim became “second nature” while she was growing up. “It never really registered with me that we were interacting with someone who was on the spectrum,” she recalled. “So when I got a little bit older and realized how impactful it was to have Tim in my life and to understand autism on a personal level in the way that having Tim did.”
Kylie volunteered for the Eagles Autism Foundation before taking on “more of an official” responsibility in recent years. “I just feel passionately that the Eagles Autism Foundation [is] doing their absolute best to impact the autism community through programs, through research. Every single dollar donated goes back to the Autism community,” she added. “They’re very transparent about how your money’s being used.”
Jason has joined his wife in proudly supporting the cause, taking on bartending duty at the foundation’s annual event in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. “It’s a long day, it’s a marathon of a day, but with how much money is raised for the Eagles Autism Foundation, I really just enjoy being here,” he said in an interview leading up to the 2023 fundraiser. “It’s one of the most fun charity events that I have ever done. Everybody who has been here before loves it. You get to be out and about with good people all looking to have fun, it’s a good time.”
Jason’s brother, Travis, and their parents have also made appearances at the benefit, as well as fellow Eagles players past and present. Fans can also catch Jason at the Eagles Autism Challenge, which gives participants the choice to do a 10-mile bike ride or a 5K run/walk.
“It’s absolutely terrifying,” Jason quipped on his podcast in September. “You’re riding in the streets of Philadelphia. But most of the people aren’t, like, experienced bike riders. So, like, there’s cars all over the place. … We changed the route this year, I think, for that reason.”
The Kelces continued to lead the way for the foundation in November when a throwback Kelly Green Eagles jacket — similar to the design worn by Princess Diana in the ’90s — was put up for auction. The vintage varsity jacket was signed by Kylie and sparked a bidding war between another beloved Philadelphia couple.
Rob McElhenney initially offered $10,050 for the item but was consistently outbid. He eventually upped his donation to $62,000 in honor of Jason’s jersey number before realizing his wife, fellow It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Kaitlin Olson, was behind the counteroffers.
“I got a text from somebody that I know who said, ‘I’ve been the one bidding against you, bozo,’” the actor explained on “New Heights” after the auction closed at $100,000. “It did not even cross my mind that this was a possibility. And it turned out that I live with this person.”
The couple gushed on “New Heights” that they were “honored” to get involved with such a good cause — and Olson was happy to have bragging rights. “[Rob] will not be wearing the jacket, ever,” she teased.
Kylie’s passion for helping the autism community doesn’t end with the Eagles. When Jason’s team played Travis and the Kansas City Chiefs in November, she paid a visit to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, an inclusive space for neurodiverse sports lovers.
“While we were in KC, the @chiefs were kind enough to take time out of their busy day to give us a tour of their sensory rooms,” Kylie wrote via Instagram in December. “I am so grateful for their commitment to inclusivity, and loved hearing about the programs they have in place and the initiatives they are working on. We may be opponents on the field, but we definitely see eye-to-eye on the importance of making a positive impact on the Autism/Neurodiverse community. Thank you so much!!!”
While Jason’s NFL career won’t last forever, the pair’s commitment to the Eagles Autism Foundation will be lifelong. “EAF knows that they can’t get rid of me,” Kylie told The Philadelphia Inquirer in January. “Even if I’m not there in an official capacity, I’ll just keep volunteering. Once football is done, but let’s be real, I don’t think football will ever be done. But once Jason is done snapping the football on a regular basis, I can’t see us ever not having a part in EAF. We have that personal connection and we could never step away.”