Alex Smith keeping up with his California charity

AP

Many professional athletes have a hard time making their charitable endeavors worthwhile when they’re nearby.

But even though he’s halfway across the country now, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is making sure his California foundation which helps foster children attend college stays strong.

According to Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star, Smith is focused on keeping his philanthropy as efficient as his play on the field, with 91 percent of the money he’s raising going to the students he’s helping and not administrative costs.

“I’ve been to so many deals with so many of my peers,” Smith said. “I hate to say it, but you go and it’s some tournament or big party or dinner, and you don’t even know what you’re raising money for. It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s for the kids.’ Thanks. But what are you doing?”

Smith, who grew up in a two-parent, middle-class household, was first introduced to the cause by his mother, who helps run the foundation now. They chose a specific target to try to have a deeper impact, and have helped 23 foster children graduate from college. Now, they’re hoping to expand their program into other areas.

“Instead of being so general, taking on so much, like ‘poverty and youth,’ it was sort of like, ‘OK, let’s narrow the focus,’” Smith said. “Let’s make it foster youth, and foster youth aging out of the system, and we’re going to be in San Diego or the Bay Area. Maybe if we can narrow the focus, we can change these kids’ trajectories and make a real difference.”

Smith’s commitment to the cause is impressive, especially after he was traded away from his home base, and has every reason to focus his attention elsewhere for the moment.