The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced today the donation of over $450,000 to local charitable and youth hockey organizations for the 2011-12 grant cycle. The Foundation awarded grants to several local non-profit organizations focused primarily on the Foundation’s fight against pediatric cancer and the development of youth and amateur hockey. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in community grants.
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. This year’s selections, determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, were based on the mission of the Foundation with funds awarded to associations in need of financial aid/assistance and that meet various established criteria. The 2011-12 recipients include the following:
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation – This grant continues to support the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Family Resource Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a space which offers educational and supportive resources and a place of respite for approximately 85,000 visitors annually. The gift also funds support programs for oncology patients. Additionally, the grant supports the purchase of Blue Jackets-branded youth sport helmets to reinforce the importance of safe play. To date, approximately 20,000 helmets have been distributed through the hospital’s Center for Injury Prevention and Close to Home Centers.
OhioHealth Foundation – This grant continues to support Cancer Connections, a coordinated patient care program offered at Riverside Methodist Hospital that is designed to guide patients individually from diagnosis to survivorship through a personal navigator. When Riverside’s innovative new Arthur G.H. Bing Cancer Center opens later this year, the building will feature a Blue Jackets presence to emphasize the organization’s role as a partner and advocate in the fight against cancer.
Flashes of Hope – This grant will be used to create uplifting photographs of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Families receive a free portfolio of the photographs. The Foundation is the founding benefactor of the Columbus Flashes of Hope chapter at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
A Kid Again – This grant will provide a Blue Jackets game adventure for approximately 400 young patients who are being treated for life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio -This grant will provide a home away from home for families whose children face long-term stays at hospitals throughout central Ohio.
John H. McConnell Education Scholarship – Spencer Gates, a recent graduate of Hilliard Bradley High School, is the 2012 recipient of the $10,000 scholarship that was established to honor the life and legacy of the Blue Jackets’ late founder.
Ohio State University Student Veteran Affairs Fund – In conjunction with Military Appreciation Night and through the Arnold Skurow Student Veteran Award, this grant awards scholarships to veterans and current service members who are pursuing education at The Ohio State University through their VA education benefits.
High School Hockey Scholarships – Two $10,000 scholarships were awarded to Marcus Andrews and Brennan Weiner, graduating high school senior hockey players who exemplify academic excellence and participate in extracurricular activities and community service work. Marcus Andrews of Reynoldsburg (PRPC Ice Prowlers) will attend Ohio University to pursue Journalism and Brennan Weiner of Bexley (St. Charles) is attending The Ohio State University, studying Biology.
DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH AND AMATEUR HOCKEY
Ohio AAA Blue Jackets – This grant funds hockey scholarships based on financial need for players in this elite program.
Player Hardships – This grant provides hardship awards to cover registration fees for select youth and high school players whose families are unable to cover the entirety of their hockey-related expenses.
Columbus Ice Hockey Club – This grant provides the opportunity for underserved youth to learn to skate and play hockey through the Columbus Recreation and Parks department.
Boy Scouts of America (Simon Kenton Council) – This grant supports the Boy Scouts’ “Skate into Scouting” campaign which has resulted in the recruitment of nearly 13,174 new scouts since the partnership began three years ago. This year’s gift further extends to the introduction of two new initiatives: a “Fit for Scouting” program tied to obesity and wellness; and the “John H. McConnell Good Scout Award.”
Capital Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) – This grant funds financial assistance for individual registration costs and equipment needs.
Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) Special Hockey – This grant supports the area’s only hockey team exclusively for children and young adults with intellectual and behavioral disabilities. This grant helps offset team expenses, reducing the financial burden on parents and families.
CCYHA House Program – This grant provides financial assistance for qualified applicants and help with expenses associated with supplies, equipment and coaching resources.
Easton Youth Hockey Association (EYHA) – This grant funds financial assistance for individual registration costs and training for coaches.
Newark Youth Hockey Association (NYHA) – This grant funds a program to introduce students to the sport of hockey through a unique partnership between NYHA and public schools within Newark.
Newark Club Hockey Team – After winning the state Club Hockey title, funds were granted to cover partial expenses related to the team’s travel to Salt Lake City, Utah for an opportunity to play in the national tournament.
Columbus Blue Jackets Quebec Pee-Wee Team – This grant covers expenses related to transportation for the local team's travel to Quebec, Canada for the prestigious annual Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament.
Gliding Stars – This grant funds financial assistant for the learn-to-skate program for skaters with intellectual disabilities in Findlay, Ohio.
flexxCOACH – This grant covers the cost of providing state-of-the-art coaching software to 100 central Ohio high school and youth hockey coaches.
In addition to the above grants, the following organizations also received donations from various fundraising efforts on behalf of the Foundation: CHOICES – Proceeds from the Lady Jackets Player Favorite Baskets; LifeCare Alliance - Grant made in conjunction with White Castle’s “Crave the Save” program in which the team partner pledged to donate $10 for every save made by a Blue Jackets goalie during home games throughout the season; Community Shelter Board – In partnership with Worthington Industries, the Foundation co-sponsored CSB’s 18th Annual Celebration, “Together Rebuilding Lives,” celebrating the organization’s work to end homelessness; Canine Companions for Independence – In partnership with Petland, proceeds from the 2012 Puck and Paws Calendar support the organization in providing service dogs to individuals with disabilities; 50/50 Raffle –Twenty-four local organizations raised money by staffing game-night raffles, a fundraising vehicle offered by the foundation in which the charity splits proceeds with one winner.
For information on the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, visit www.BlueJacketsFoundation.org.