By Steve Sears
Paul Mulcahy, a junior guard on the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights basketball team, created a vision in 2020, and that vision is flourishing.
Mulcahy’s Grateful4 Foundation was started early during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the idea had percolated a few years prior. “It was an idea that I had for a couple of years dating back to sophomore year of high school, and I always wanted to do it,” says Mulcahy, who wears number 4 for the Scarlet Knights, therefore the “4” in the foundation name. “I never had time, and the pandemic gave me time to spend my resources in other areas. Also during that time, there was a lot going on in the world: a lot of indifference, a lot of separation between people, and a lot of people were on edge about the pandemic, about social issues, political issues, whatever the case may be. I just figured that it was the best time to try to bring people together through an emotion that everyone can feel.”
Mulcahy’s foundation has gained much traction in the two years since its beginning. From the outset, he asked his website visitors to record a short video detailing the four things they were grateful for, and then to nominate four others to do the same. “That got a great response from people,” Mulcahy states. “I think it was 23 states and like four different countries that people had sent videos from, and that was pretty cool. Between Twitter and Instagram, there was probably 75 videos, maybe 100.” And bolstered by that activity, he pushed forward. “I made a lot of cold calls, reaching out to a lot of people to see their thoughts and if they’d be able to help, and I got a lot of help. Since then, we’ve been able to do a lot more, especially in the recent couple of months.”
Mulcahy’s goal prior to the end of March 2022 was to get the Grateful4 Foundation listed as a nonprofit 501c3. Also, in addition to using his own funds and those of a generous donation around the holiday season, Mulcahy was able to gather over 100 toys so underserved families enjoy the Christmas season, and he has also worked with different soup kitchens. And soon, the goodness of the Grateful4 Foundation will be more visible. “We’ve partnered with this company, Spreadshop, that is going to help us put out a bunch of different accessories and clothing and things. And all the profit from that will go to the Foundation.”
The Big Ten, the conference that Rutgers athletics competes in, has also helped. “The Big Ten did a documentary during my sophomore year about it,” Mulcahy says, “and Rutgers and the Rutgers Nation and the community – basically everywhere I go, somebody mentions it to me – they’ve helped me a ton, and the alumni base and everything has been great.”
Mulcahy “lives” the Grateful4 Foundation daily, he himself keeping and writing in a gratitude journal. “It just helps perspective, and realizing there’s highs and lows in life,” he says. “But if you can keep a medium perspective about everything, and realize all the great things that there are that people down the block from you would love to have, it makes a lot of situations better.”
Mulcahy, a Human Resource and Sports Management major, has a five-year-goal for the Grateful4 Foundation. “We’re raising a lot of money to help a lot of people in a lot of different ways,” he says. “I would love to have a headquarters, a place to help people and really build a team, and just help as many people as possible.”