The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced this evening the donation of $1,000,000 awarded to local charitable and youth hockey organizations for the current grant cycle, marking the fourth year in a row that annual community reinvestment has been at least $1 million. This year's grants push the Foundation's cumulative support of youth health and wellness initiatives in central Ohio to $11.4 million since its inception in 2000.
During a pregame reception this evening, the Blue Jackets Foundation announced grants that were awarded to 37 central Ohio nonprofit organizations, including three new partners. In the area of children's health and safety, Girls on the Run of Central Ohio uses running and other physical activities as a platform for teaching life skills for girls in grades 3-8. Funding from this year's grant will go towards providing shoes for girls on the Columbus City Schools teams. Additional partner organizations that serve health and safety initiatives include: The City of Columbus - Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Foundation, The Childhood League Center, KidSMILES Pediatric Dental Clinic, LSS CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence and Nationwide Children's Hospital.
A new partner in the area of education is United Schools Network where funding will be used to support Family Literacy Nights at each of their four central Ohio charter schools. These events will include parent/teacher reading coaching sessions, small group read-loud with teachers, free books for every student to take home and financial literacy counseling among other opportunities. Additionally, funding will help United Schools Network to update its classroom libraries to represent its diverse student body to create a more inclusive set of high-interest reading materials and boost students' academic achievement.
Another new education partner is Children's Hunger Alliance where funding will support the agency's Coordinated Approach to Childhood Health (CATCH) physical education curriculum. The program, which encompasses lessons focusing on non-competitive physical activity, is designed to promote healthful behaviors in school-aged children and reduce their subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease.
The foundation also continues grant partnerships in areas of reading, literacy and education with Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resource Center, Columbus Early Learning Centers, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Community Shelter Board, Junior Achievement of Central Ohio, Marburn Academy, Ruling Our Experiences, Inc. (ROX) and Thurber House.
Grant recipients that support pediatric cancer programs include: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, Flashes of Hope - Columbus, Flying Horse Farms, Make-A-Wish Ohio Kentucky and Indiana, A Kid Again, and Nellie's Champions for Kids (NC4K).
Furthering the commitment to grow youth and amateur hockey and remove barriers to playing the game, the Foundation has awarded grants to 10 local hockey associations that include traditional programs, sled hockey, girls' hockey, and Special Hockey for individuals with developmental disabilities. Grants were also given to grow street hockey programs through the City of Westerville and YMCA of Central Ohio. Additional grants were awarded to Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Gliding Stars and After-School All-Stars to support their respective hockey initiatives.
As the charitable arm of the National Hockey League club, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation leverages its unique resources - players, coaches, staff and fans - to partner with and invest in central Ohio charities. For more information, visit www.BlueJackets.com/community.