Six Heisman Trophy winners give two days of service in LA neighborhood

LOS ANGELES (May 8, 2015) – Juan Loza works three jobs as a banquet server to provide for his family. This weekend, he’ll add a fourth role – construction crew member – beginning the build of his family’s new home with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. He will be joined by six of college football’s most outstanding players, former recipients of the Heisman Memorial Trophy, whose efforts will help change the lives of this local Los Angeles family.

This unique collaboration grew out of existing relationships among Nissan and its longtime partners Habitat for Humanity and the Heisman Trophy Trust. The three organizations come together each year to bring awareness to the need for affordable housing across the country.  Joining Nissan and Habitat this weekend are Heisman winners:

  • Tony Dorsett, 1976, University of Pittsburgh running back;
  • Doug Flutie, 1984, Boston College quarterback;
  • John Huarte, 1964, Notre Dame quarterback;
  • Matt Leinart, 2004, University of Southern California quarterback;
  • George Rogers, 1980, University of South Carolina running back; and
  • Troy Smith, 2006, Ohio State University quarterback.

The Heisman Trophy recipients will begin their weekend by leading a football clinic on Friday, running drills and engaging up to 250 young people at Carson High School in Carson, a city in southern Los Angeles County.  The next day they will trade footballs for hammers, helping to raise the walls of the Loza family’s new home.

“Working with Habitat, Nissan employees have logged more than 70,000 volunteer hours to improve communities across the country over the past 10 years,” said Nissan Marketing Vice President Jeremy Tucker. “Now, with the personal commitment of time and effort from the Heisman winners, we’re creating a one-of-a-kind partnership that can bring even greater attention to local needs for decent, affordable housing. We’re grateful for their participation.”

“The Heisman Trophy Trust is proud to partner with Nissan, Habitat for Humanity and the dedicated Heisman Trophy winners for this annual home build,” said Rob Whalen, Executive Director of the Heisman Trophy Trust. “The union of professional athletes and business leaders into one team to help a family build their dream home is truly remarkable.  The Heisman Trophy Trust has a charitable mission to serve those less fortunate.  This home build further cements our mission and highlights the basic human nature in each of us.”

The Heisman winners will be working alongside Juan and Gloria Loza and their three sons, who currently live in a two-bedroom apartment in Norwalk. The construction crew directed by Habitat LA will also include employee volunteers from Nissan’s Western Region operations in Orange County.

“This partnership with Nissan and the Heisman Trophy Trust will make a great impact in our community, from the clinic engaging so many local youth, including some of the children of our homeowners, to the build day with the Loza Family,” said Erin Rank, Habitat LA President/CEO. “The Heisman athletes who will be joining us know firsthand the meaning of hard work, and we appreciate them helping the Loza family with some of the sweat equity hours that they will be putting into building their Habitat LA home.”

The “Heisman House” concept launched by Nissan in 2011 highlights its sponsorship of The Heisman Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to an outstanding college football player. The campaign features some of the most celebrated college football players in Heisman history in the fraternal order of the Heisman House.

Nissan’s national partnership with Habitat dates to 2005, following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Since 2006, Nissan has contributed more than $12 million to Habitat for Humanity. Nissan employees have helped to build more than 60 homes across the United States, and the company has donated 120 vehicles to support Habitat’s mission. In February 2015, in connection with its Super Bowl XLIX commercial called “With Dad,” Nissan donated $500,000 to Habitat for Humanity to help people working to build a better future for themselves and their families.

About Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2014 and 2015 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and, or visit the Americas media sites and

About Nissan

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 244,500 employees globally, Nissan sold almost 5.2 million vehicles and generated revenue of 10.5 trillion yen (USD 105 billion) in fiscal 2013. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history with almost 50% share of the zero-emission vehicle segment.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that housing provides a path out of poverty, since 1976 Habitat has helped more than 5 million people through home construction, rehabilitation and repairs and by increasing access to improved shelter through products and services. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit

About Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) strives to eliminate substandard housing through advocacy, education and partnership with families and individuals in need to build decent, sustainable and affordable housing. Since 1990, Habitat LA has built, renovated and repaired more than 1,000 homes locally and worldwide, transforming the lives of thousands of individuals. Habitat LA is a Guide Star® Valued Partner and has four consecutive Charity Navigator 4-Star ratings awarded to non-profits for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Habitat for Humanity International recognized 14 affiliates out of more than 1400 as Affiliates of Distinction for 2015-2017, and Habitat LA is proudly one of them. For more information, please visit or call 310-323-4663.

About the Heisman Trophy Trust
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.  Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work.   The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award.  The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country.   Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted.

Media Contacts:

Vicki Smith                                 Ali Mullin

Nissan North America                   Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles

615-594-7198                                      310-560-4049