GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Former Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell will return to the west side of the state this weekend to host his 11th annual Joique Bell Charity Weekend from June 23 through June 25.

Bell is launching a $200,000 fundraising initiative to bring a literacy nonprofit called Beyond Basics to his alma mater. In the Benton Harbor school district, more than 90% of students are reading below their grade level. Bell is committed to combatting illiteracy. 

“I want to make sure that no kid from my community ends up being a statistic because of the lack of them being able to read,” Bell said. “So if I can do my part to be able to better their future, just by changing this aspect of their life, then I’m doing my part.” 

The events throughout the weekend will include a bowling tournament, golf scramble, a football camp and more. More information can be found at

Bell spoke with News 8’s Marlee Wierda about the event, along with his thoughts on the upcoming NFL season. He reflected on his time playing under head coach Jim Caldwell and transitioning from a pro football career to philanthropy work. 

For their full conversation, watch the video in the player above.