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Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation Donates Record $411,750 to Local Charitable and Youth Hockey Organizations

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced April 15 the donation of a record-high total of $411,750 to local charitable and youth hockey organizations for the 2009-10 grant cycle. Grants were awarded 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 10 years ago, the Foundation has awarded nearly $3 million in community grants.

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 (Jared Boll, Derick Brassard, Mike Commodore, Derek Dorsett, Jan Hejda, Rostislav Klesla, Steve Mason, Fredrik Modin, Rick Nash, Kris Russell, Raffi Torres, R.J. Umberger, Jakub Voracek) that collectively donated $140,000 in support of their chosen charitable causes or community organizations.

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.

Upon reviewing the 2009-10 applicants, the following grants were awarded:

PEDIATRIC CANCER
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 80,000 visitors annually. The gift also funds support programs for oncology patients and the hospital's new Teen Room, a designated lounge where teenage cancer patients can gather to watch television or use computers that were donated by Blue Jackets player Antoine Vermette and his wife, Karen. The room was decorated by several Blue Jackets players' wives with furniture donated by team partner, Big Lots. Additionally, the grant supports the purchase of Blue Jackets-branded youth sport helmets to reinforce the importance of safe play.

CureSearch (via donation to St. Baldrick's Foundation) – As a unique way to raise funds for research grants to fight all childhood cancers, the national St. Baldrick's Foundation hosts events around St. Patrick's Day in which participants agree to have their heads shaved upon reaching a stated fundraising goal. This year’s gift supported a challenge made by Dr. Tom Gross (Chief of Hematology/Oncology/BMT at Nationwide Children's Hospital) in which the physician personally pledged to shave his head and signature beard if his team raised $10,000 for CureSearch.

OhioHealth Foundation – Grant funds a new patient navigator system known as Cancer Connections, a program that acts as a portal entrance to a patient's cancer care at Riverside Methodist Hospital. The program, which is designed to create a smoother transition from cancer patient to survivorship, has been implemented into healthcare systems nationally but will be a first for central Ohio. In addition to the funding of cancer planners and staffing resources, the gift will also provide Wii systems and an air hockey table at Riverside’s campus for therapeutic and recreational use for patients and their families. The grant also continues to support OhioHealth's KidShare family support program.

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 is the founding benefactor of the Columbus Flashes of Hope chapter at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Ryan Salmons Foundation – Grant funded purchase of 30 hospital-grade 26" HD LCD televisions and proper wall mounts to outfit all patient rooms in the Hematology/Oncology unit at Nationwide Children's Hospital. This gift was made in memory of Ryan Salmons, a pediatric cancer patient who signed a one-day contract with the Blue Jackets at the end of last season and passed away last May.

EDUCATION
Columbus Dispatch Newspapers in Education (NIE) –
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 showcases the 61 Club, a program captained by Rick Nash featuring Blue Jackets-themed curriculum and an incentive-based good health challenge students may follow in the NIE section of the paper.

Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown - JA BizTown, a simulated “town” with businesses such as The Blue Jackets Hockey Shop, provides students with a realistic opportunity to experience how basic economic concepts are used in the real world. The program serves 10,000 students in grades 4-6 annually.

Ohio Historical Society – Grant supports Ohio Historical Society’s educational initiative to recognize the 150th anniversary of the Civil War through their CW150 celebration. Curriculum materials targeting 4th, 5th and 8th grades will be available through the team's Blue Jackets At School program, offering a vehicle to establish the connection between the Blue Jackets team name and its Civil War heritage.

John H. McConnell Education Scholarship – Rachel Beam from Morgan High School in McConnelsville, Ohio is the 2010 recipient of the scholarship that was established to honor the life and legacy of the Blue Jackets’ late founder.

CHILDREN'S HEALTH & SAFETY
Boy 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. In the last two years, the partnership has resulted in the recruitment of nearly 4,400 new scouts and retention of 72.5% of existing membership.

Children's Hunger Alliance – Grant supports "Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities," an after-school program which provides 1,400 youth in central Ohio with nutritious meals and fitness education.

Columbus Recreation & Parks – After partnering with the City of Columbus and East Fifth Avenue Civic Association to re-open Krumm Recreation Center following budget cuts last June, this year's grant will ensure that the center will stay open on a full-time basis during the upcoming summer season.

Autism Speaks – Grant is made in conjunction with White Castle’s "Crave the Save" program in which the company pledged to donate $10 to Autism Speaks for every save made by a Blue Jackets goalie during home games the second half of the season.

DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH AND AMATEUR HOCKEY
Ohio AAA Blue Jackets –
Grant funds hockey scholarships based on financial need for players in this elite program.

Athens Youth Hockey Association – Grant funds scholarships and purchase of equipment and training aids.

Bishop Watterson High School – Grant supports development of school's second-year program.

Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) Special Hockey Grant assists team of kids with developmental disabilities with costs associated with equipment and financial need.

CCYHA House Program – Grant will provide financial assistance for qualified applicants and help with expenses associated with supplies, equipment and coaching resources.

Capital Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) – Grant funds financial assistance for individuals and equipment needs.

Easton Youth Hockey Association (EYHA) – Grant will be used to offer hockey scholarships and training for coaches.

Cincinnati Amateur Hockey Association Funding supports the purchase of helmets and skating aids for participants of Introduction to Skating and Ice Hockey programs which are offered free of charge.

Youngstown Youth Hockey Girls League – Grant assists with continued support of the all-girls hockey league serving three counties in northeastern Ohio. Participants range in age from 7-18 years old.

Columbus Ice Hockey Club – Grant provides opportunity for underserved youth to learn to skate and play hockey through the Columbus Recreation and Parks department.

Newark Ice Hockey Association – Grant will support the Success with Scores! program which is promoted through the elementary school system and intended to showcase skating and hockey as options for exercise.

Quebec PeeWee Team – Grant covers expense of transportation for the team's travel to Quebec for the prestigious annual tournament.

Arlington Park Elementary Street Hockey Program – Grant supports school's development of a street hockey team, including transportation and equipment.

Equipment Bank – Grant provides additional hockey gear to Chillers' existing Equipment Bank which breaks the financial barrier to entry by allowing new players to borrow equipment at no cost.

High School Hockey Scholarships – Four 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 Carlin Guthrie (Upper Arlington), Brian Lewis (St. Charles Preparatory), Brett Taylor (Worthington Kilbourne) and Francesco Felice (Dublin Scioto).


In addition to the above grants which were awarded through the application process, the following organizations also received donations from various fundraising efforts on behalf of the foundation: American Red Cross Haiti Relief – Money was raised through NHL initiative to support Haiti relief; Habitat for Humanity – Money was raised through in-kind donation made by team partner Coldwell Banker King Thompson; 50/50 Raffle – Nineteen local organizations raised money by staffing game-night raffles, a new 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.

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