Del Reid standing with arms crossed, wearing shirt that says Buffalo

Buffalo State Alum Uses Love of Bills to Unite, Benefit Community


Del Reid, ’04, is making a difference in Western New York. Reid, who graduated with a degree in computer information systems, is cofounder of 26 Shirts, a growing charity T-shirt company, as well as one of the cofounders of #BillsMafia, the popular hashtag and catchall of the Buffalo Bills’ fan base. It’s not exactly the way Reid thought his life would go.

“I thought I was going to sit at a computer for 30 years and retire,” he said. “I was cool with that. But then things took off with 26 Shirts, and I felt like God put something in my heart that sent me in this direction.”

The idea for 26 Shirts started after Reid began to achieve a level of notoriety from the #BillsMafia hashtag. As his social media following grew, he decided he had to do something to capitalize on his growing stature in the fan base, aside from just telling jokes and being silly. “Bills Mafia” has grown into the official moniker of Bills fans.

Blue T-shirt with white and red lettering that says Let's Go Mafia

“I always joke that I’ve read too many Spider-Man comics,” he said, noting he’s a Marvel Comics aficionado. “I guess I’ve read or heard Uncle Ben say too many times, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’”

The company was originally meant to be a one-year service project, with a new T-shirt unveiled every two weeks. That’s how the company got its name—one T-shirt every two weeks for a year is 26 shirts. A percentage of the proceeds from the shirts, which feature witty or relevant content related to Buffalo sports, would go to families in need. The idea took off and now provides employment for Reid and several others, as well as regular charitable contributions to the community. There is even a spinoff in Chicago.

“This shirt company is a perfect fit for what this region stands for and believes in,” he said.

Ideas for the T-shirts come from a variety of places, Reid said. Fans have ideas, artists have ideas, and sometimes, the idea comes from Reid. The company has produced nearly 700 original T-shirts.

“I get a lot of credit for all these charity things that happen, but each time something happens, it’s just a different fan’s idea,” he said. “I just try to give it a megaphone as much as possible.”

In total, 26 Shirts has raised over $1 million for various charities around the region, such as helping cancer patients with their medical bills or covering the costs of funeral arrangements for those who have died from COVID-19.

Reid attended Buffalo State College in 1993, but it didn’t work out initially. He ended up coming back, and graduated magna cum laude in 2004.

“I really loved the instructors I had,” he said, adding that his wife earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Buffalo State. “We’re a Buffalo State family.”

It’s been quite a journey for Reid, who said he loves what he’s doing now.

“It’s super surreal, to be honest with you,” he said.

Del Reid photo by Brody Wheeler.