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RELEASE: Blackhawks Foundation Names Sara Guderyahn Executive Director

Guderyahn more than 15 years of experience in the social impact sector

by Chicago Blackhawks Communications /

The Chicago Blackhawks today announced the hiring of Sara Guderyahn as the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation's Executive Director. At the helm of the team's charitable arm, Guderyahn will advance the Foundation's long-term strategic vision in addition to fundraising, grant-making, program development and stewardship of the Board of Directors.

"We continue to reposition the Blackhawks Foundation as an entity that produces community programming in addition to nearly $2 million in annual charitable giving efforts," said Rocky Wirtz, Chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation's Board of Directors. "Sara brings a through line of non-profit, government and business experience that will take our Foundation to the next level within Chicago's philanthropic landscape."

The Chicago Blackhawks Foundation's mission is to help create a healthier, smarter, more secure world for families in and around Chicago. By providing access to programming and resources, the organization strives to make a positive impact focused on health & wellness, education, youth engagement and family services in addition to growing the great game of hockey.

"The Blackhawks Foundation team has done an incredible job to lay the groundwork that will help create more vibrant communities," added Guderyahn. "What's more, I'm thrilled to join an organization where we aligned in our dedication to the service of children and families, and I look forward to enhancing and growing our impact together."

Guderyahn's vast career includes more than 15 years of experience in the social impact sector, including senior-level roles with Education Pioneers and The Sheridan Group. She adds depth to the Foundation team that already includes Director of Foundation Programming Tovah McCord, who will remain the lead on all educational programming efforts. Over the last two years since the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation's relaunch, the Foundation has implemented three brand-new youth programs, all of which are housed at Fifth Third Arena, the Chicago Blackhawks Community Ice Rink:

  • Building Champions - a seven-week afterschool program fostering social and emotional learning through sports-based lessons about respect, leadership, decision making, perseverance and teamwork.
  • Healthy Hawks - a summer field trip that teaches children about making nutritious food choices that can fuel their bodies for exercise.
  • Hawks HeART - a seven-week afterschool program that guides students through artistic and creative exercises to design a personal logo that reflects their individuality and future goals. 

Collectively, Blackhawks community programs served a total of 101,480 youth from Chicago Public Schools and other local non-profit organizations during the 2018-19 season. The expanded Foundation team will continue to work side-by-side with Blackhawks Community Relations and Fan Development, focused on outreach and youth hockey respectively, on collaborative community and in-school programs including: 

  • G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Learn) & First Stride - a field trip to Fifth Third Arena for a chance to take the ice following a floor hockey clinic and equipment donation to schools' physical education departments.
  • Future Goals & STEM Showcase - year-round access to educational software and an annual field trip to a Blackhawks practice at the United Center that brings science, technology, engineering and math to life through real-life hockey concepts.
  • Reading Program - resources and incentives for teachers and librarians to encourage students in second through sixth grades to read in and out of the classroom.
  • ServICE Crew - resources and incentives for parents, coaches and other group leaders to inspire youth, ages 8 - 18, to take an active role in their community by volunteering and giving back.

The Blackhawks will host the team's third annual Foundation Night game on Sunday, Dec. 8 vs. Arizona, with additional information for fans looking to support their local community through this initiative to be released at a later date. To learn more about the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, please visit or download a copy of the 2018-19 Community Report.

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