COLUMBUS, OH - The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, the charitable arm of the hockey club, announced today a long-term philanthropic partnership with Columbus Children’s Hospital. Highlighting the partnership is the Foundation's pledge of $1.5 million over the next 15 years and name entitlement to the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Family Resource Center, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2006. The $1.5 million grant marks the largest gift to date in the nearly six-year history of the Foundation.
"The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation has been privileged to support Columbus Children's Hospital and this gift is the culmination of a relationship that spans several years," said Blue Jackets Foundation Chairman of the Board John H. McConnell. "This new facility will provide great comfort for families facing the most daunting of challenges and we are extremely proud to offer our support to such an important place of hope, healing and comfort."
The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Family Resource Center, which will be decorated in an imaginative Blue Jackets hockey theme, will be open to all families with patients admitted to Columbus Children’s. The space will have kitchen, laundry and exercise facilities, classrooms and wireless internet access so that parents can tend to day to day needs while remaining close to their hospitalized child. The lounge will be a relaxing space where families may enjoy recreational activities such as reading, watching television or playing video games. Young patient siblings can also tap into the decorative Zamboni toy box for activities to fill their time.
“Our families are dealing with a lot of stress while their children are hospitalized. The Blue Jackets Foundation Family Resource Center will go a long way toward providing a homelike atmosphere that will be a place of respite and comfort,” said Keith Goodwin, Children’s Interim CEO. “The center will be a tremendous enhancement to the way we care for our patients’ families.”
The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Family Resource Center will be the centerpiece of Columbus Children’s $79 million clinical expansion. The entrance to the 5,000 square foot space will be located adjacent to the main hospital cafeteria and close to the gift shop and chapel allowing families convenient access to all major public areas of the building. Currently, nearly two million visitors pass through the main lobby each year and the increased services along with the Resource Center are expected to draw even more traffic
The center will also incorporate the team’s corporate partners by including a custom-designed Blue Jackets-branded vending machine provided by Pepsi and unique amenities such as the Donatos hotline which will allow guests to place pizza orders that will be delivered directly to the Resource Center at a discount price.
The Blue Jackets and the team’s foundation have actively supported Columbus Children’s since prior to the team's formal inception. Before a player was drafted, team mascot Stinger made monthly visits to the hospital. Since that time, team players have become ambassadors for programs such as Hats For Heroes, led by Tyler Wright, and the Blue Jackets Bike Helmet Safety Program, launched by Luke Richardson.
Hats For Heroes remains the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation's signature program with sales of the custom baseball hats going to help children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Earlier this year, a portion of these proceeds were donated through the Foundation’s formal grant-giving process to launch the Columbus Children’s Hospital Foundation Sibling Support Program which offers the siblings of pediatric cancer patients a forum in which to discuss and deal with physical and emotional changes in the family through a six-week course. When the Resource Center is complete, this program will be conducted in that space.
The mission of the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation is to utilize the unique resources of its professional athletes, players and coaches to improve the quality of life throughout the community. The Foundation dedicates time, resources, and financial support to organizations committed to meeting the educational, cultural, health and wellness needs of its citizens. A primary focus of the Foundation is its Stick with Kids initiative in which a strong emphasis is placed on its three main pillars: the fight against pediatric cancer; the health and safety of today’s youth; and education.
Since its inception in March 2000 during the club’s inaugural season, the Foundation has granted more than $960,000 in support of local non-profit organizations that serve the Foundation’s pillars of giving. In addition, 25 percent of the annual grant distribution is dedicated to the development of youth hockey.