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Legendary NFL quarterback and former Southern Miss star Brett Favre is under fire for the role that his charity played in funneling money to the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation from 2018 to 2020, according to tax records obtained by The Athletic and ESPN. During this time, Favre also reportedly tried to raise money for a new volleyball center at the university, where his daughter was a member of the team.

Favre's charity, Favre 4 Hope, was created to support charities that provide support to underserved and disabled children and breast cancer patients, according to its mission statement. However, the charity made three large donations to the USM Athletic Foundation totaling more than $130,000. Those sums were significantly more than donations made to other organizations. 

Favre 4 Hope donated $60,000 to USM in 2018, $46,817 in 2019 and $26,175 in 2020. The largest donation it made to any other organization during that time period was an $11,000 sum to the Special Olympics of Mississippi in 2019. The highest donations made in 2018 and 2020 were $10,000 sums to multiple organizations. Records obtained by ESPN also show that the booster club of Favre's daughter's high school received funds from Favre 4 Hope in years prior to her enrollment at Southern Miss.

Favre 4 Hope's role is part of a much larger welfare scandal involving the misappropriation of roughly $77 million, making it the largest public corruption case in Mississippi history. Favre sent text messages to the director of a non-profit organization expressing concern regarding his name potentially getting out in public, according to Mississippi Today. 

Charities like Favre 4 Hope have an ethical obligation to spend funds the way donors intended, Charity Watch executive director Laurie Styron told ESPN

John Davis, former Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, pled guilty in September to one count of conspiracy and one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. Davis worked with four unnamed co-conspirators, two of which are executive directors of organizations, according to CBS News

"MDHS provided federal funds to two nonprofit organizations and then directed the two nonprofit organizations to fraudulently award contracts to various entities and individuals for social services that were never provided," the United States Department of Justice said in a release on Sept. 22. 

Favre played quarterback at Southern Miss from 1987-90. He was drafted 33rd overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1991 NFL Draft and traded to the Green Bay Packers the following offseason. Favre starred for the Packers from 1992-2007, earning three straight MVP awards (1995-97) and winning Super Bowl XXXI. He joined the New York Jets in 2008 and finished his career with the Minnesota Vikings in 2009 and 2010. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.