COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced today the donation of a record total of $850,000 to local charitable and youth hockey organizations for the current grant cycle, eclipsing last year’s previous record-setting grant total of $800,000. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has invested $7 million in Central Ohio to support initiatives that fight pediatric cancer, grow and support youth hockey and keep kids healthy and safe.
The first of this year’s signature commitments is a $40,000 grant to the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation to support homework help centers in four new branches opening in the next year. To complement the Blue Jackets presence at the Northern Lights, Shepard, Parsons and Main Library locations, the collaboration also encompasses a new monthly reading program that will be introduced later this year.
Other grants awarded to further education outside the classroom support YMCA of Central Ohio’s “Time Out to Read” program, presented by PNC, which encourages reading with children 30 minutes each day. The Foundation’s grant to Junior Achievement maintains support of JA BizTown, which teaches financial literacy to elementary school kids.
Another signature project made possible by a $70,000 grant to the Community Shelter Board is the construction of a Blue Jackets-themed playground at the Van Buren Shelter. The play space for children of homeless families who reside at the West Side shelter is expected to be completed this fall.
Other recipients that serve the health and safety of children include: The Childhood League Center (safe play equipment for kids in physical therapy); KidSMILES (educational outreach teaching proper dental hygiene and dental screening for 100 at-risk kids); and Boy Scouts of America Simon Kenton Council (Skate into Scouting recruitment program).
In keeping with the Foundation’s efforts to fight pediatric cancer by healing through distraction, several organizations received grants to support their respective psychosocial programs including: Flying Horse Farms (medically-safe camp experience for approximately 150 hematology and oncology patients); Make A Wish Foundation (wish trips); A Kid Again (a Blue Jackets game experience); and Flashes of Hope (photo shoots for pediatric cancer patients and their families). Lastly, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio receives a grant to fund 500 nights at the house for families of pediatric cancer patients.
Also highlighted in the current cycle is a $100,000 grant to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation in fulfillment of the Blue Jackets Foundation’s long-term $1.5 million commitment to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Lastly, several annual grants are dedicated to the development of youth and amateur hockey and making the game accessible to all who want to play. Recipients include: YMCA of Central Ohio (street hockey equipment and programming); Ohio Sled Hockey (sending team to NHL Sled Classic in Ft. Lauderdale, FL); Newark Ice Hockey Association (equipment and Scores for Schools program); Easton Youth Hockey Association (goalie development) and Gliding Stars (teaching skating to those with special needs). Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) receives grants for Special Hockey (serving those with special needs), coaching development and expansion of its girls’ hockey program.
Several programs that received grants to assist players in financial need include Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Capital Amateur Hockey Association, CCYHA, Athens Youth Hockey Association and the Columbus Ice Hockey Club, which is also using the funds to assist with coach and referee certifications.
Founded in 2000, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation’s mission is to help central Ohio kids get healthy, play safely and stay active. As the charitable arm of the National Hockey League club, the Foundation leverages its unique resources – players, coaches, staff and fans – to partner with and invest in central Ohio charities. For more information on the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, visit www.BlueJacketsFoundation.org.