COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced today the donation of a record-high total of $354,500 in grants to several local non-profit organizations that serve the Foundation's main pillars of giving: pediatric cancer; education; children's health and safety; and the development of youth and amateur hockey. Since its inception nine years ago, the Foundation has awarded approximately $2.3 million in community grants and $50,000 in autographed team merchandise.
In addition to the Foundation's annual fundraising events and ongoing programs, this year's record total was reached with the help of several players (Mike Commodore, Jan Hejda, Christian Huselius, Rostislav Klesla, Fredrik Modin, Rick Nash, Jiri Novotny, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, Jakub Voracek) who collectively donated $120,000 in support of the Foundation's efforts to expose underserved youth to the game of hockey and reward the achievements of young people.
Upon reviewing the 2008-09 applicants, the following grants were awarded:
Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation – Grant continues to support the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Family Resource Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The gift also funds the hospital's oncology services which benefit the Sibling Support program and the Stinger Bravery Beads program. Additionally, the grant supports the purchase of Blue Jackets-branded youth helmets to reinforce the importance of safe play.
Easter Seals of Central & Southeast Ohio – Grant supports the local chapter's Blue Jackets Foundation Life Skills Center, a state-of-the-art facility designed to replicate a home environment in which patients engage in physical therapy simulating real-world applications.
Columbus Recreation & Parks – The Foundation is partnering with the City of Columbus and East Fifth Avenue Civic Association to re-open Krumm Recreation Center for part-time staff during after-school hours and during summer playground season. Krumm Park recently installed a street hockey rink on the premises which will soon be Blue Jackets branded.
Flashes of Hope – Grant supports this non-profit organization's mission to create uplifting photographs of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Families receive a free portfolio of the photographs. The Foundation and FOX Sports Ohio are the founding and sole benefactors of the Columbus Flashes of Hope chapter at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Arlington Park Elementary - The Foundation, in partnership with Manny and Joann Malhotra, joined forces with Office Max, Aetna and Lowe's to build Panther Park playground at the club's adopted elementary school in Columbus.
Hope Street Kids - The funding supports a specific pediatric cancer research project at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital/Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, OH.
Columbus Dispatch Newspapers in Education – Grant helps cover cost of providing classroom copies of The Columbus Dispatch for teacher and student use in schools in 111,000 classrooms in central Ohio. This association also offers a program captained by Rick Nash featuring Blue Jackets-themed curriculum in the NIE section of the paper.
A Kid Again – Grant will provide a Blue Jackets game adventure for young patients who are being treated for life-threatening illnesses and their families. The VIP experience for 500 guests includes game tickets, food and beverage courtesy of Delaware North Companies Sportservice and a post-game group photo on the ice.
Boys Scouts of America (Simon Kenton Council) – Grant supports team's ongoing involvement in the Boy Scouts "Skate Into Scouting" recruitment campaign which targets 150,000 youth in 23 counties across Ohio.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Pennies for Patients - During a three-week period in the upcoming school year, 220,000 students across 43 schools in central Ohio will collect spare change and pool it with their classmates to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The campaign will feature Blue Jackets branding on all collateral and promotional materials used by students.
Dude! Where's My Hair? – Grant supports production of a theatrical show featuring pediatric cancer patients writing and telling their "Hairdo Monologues." The money raised would support The Hair Theatre Wig Fund at the Columbus Foundation which assists women and girls with wigs and hats necessitated by chemotherapy.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio – Grant will support Camp Oty'Okwa, a residential camping facility in Hocking Hills which has served as a safe haven to thousands of at-risk and disadvantaged youth from all over the state to help them learn to make correct choices and grow.
The following grants support the development of youth and amateur hockey:
Ohio AAA Blue Jackets – Grant funds hockey scholarships based on financial need for players in this elite program.
Columbus Ice Hockey Club – Grant provides opportunity for underserved youth to learn to skate and play hockey through the Columbus Recreation and Parks department.
Ohio Sled Hockey – Funding will be used to repair the program's old sleds and purchase new sleds.
Quebec PeeWee Team – Grant covers expense of transportation for the team's travel to Quebec for the prestigious annual tournament.
FlexxCoach – Grant covers cost of providing state-of-the-art coaching software to approximately 100 Central Ohio high school and youth hockey coaches.
Athens Youth Hockey Association – Grant funds scholarships and included donation of mite hockey gear.
Bishop Watterson High School – Grant supports development of school's new program, specifically funding ice time.
Easton Youth Hockey Association (EYHA) – Grant will be used to offer either full hockey scholarship for 12-15 players or partial scholarships for several.
Got Skills – Grant helps cover costs associated with planning and executing local Got Skills event for youth players in central Ohio. Local winners advance to national competition.
Newark Ice Hockey Association – Grant will support the new Score For Schools program which provides local Newark schools (3-4 graders) in 8 counties the opportunity to take a field trip to the local rink for an educational program that includes free skating and hockey clinics. The Foundation will also donate equipment from the equipment bank.
Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) Special Hockey - Grant will assist this team of special needs ice hockey players with costs associated with ice time, equipment and tournament fees.
High School Hockey Scholarships – Three scholarships were awarded to graduating high school senior hockey players who best exemplify academic excellence and participate in extracurricular activities and community service work. This year’s recipients are Jeffrey Richards (Westerville Central), Nick Knudson (St. Charles Preparatory) and Matthew Ambrogi (Worthington Kilbourne).
Chiller Bike Helmet Program – Grant provides fro 150 new small youth Blue Jackets branded sports helmets to distribute to Chiller Ice Rinks for use during public skate.
Youngstown Youth Hockey – Grant assists with continued support of Phantom Girls Hockey Team.
Fall "Playership" Campaign – Yet to be determined number "playerships" will be granted to individuals that demonstrate the greatest need for financial assistance to continue participating in youth hockey.
The selections, determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, were based on the mission of the Foundation with funds awarded to associations that are in need of financial aid/assistance and meet various criteria established by the Foundation. For information on the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, visit www.BlueJacketsFoundation.org.
The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation was established in March of 2000 by late team founder John H. McConnell to utilize the unique resources of the hockey club's professional athletes, coaches and staff to help improve the quality of life throughout the community.