COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced today the donation of a record-high total of $500,000 to local charitable and youth hockey organizations for the 2010-11 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 in 2000, the Foundation has awarded $3.5 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.
Upon reviewing the 2010-11 applicants, the following grants were awarded:
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, including a new Creative Center that offers art therapy and a "fun fund" for a special experience while kids are hospitalized. Additionally, the grant continues to support 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 Cancer Center opens in 2012, the building will feature a prominent Blue Jackets presence to emphasize the organization's role as a leading advocate in the fight against cancer.
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.
A Kid Again – Grant will provide a Blue Jackets game adventure for approximately 400 young patients who are being treated for life-threatening illnesses and their families
Special Spaces – Grant funds a complete bedroom makeover for a local pediatric cancer patient. The goal of the program is to design a special place at home where kids can feel safe and comfortable when they are away from the hospital.
John H. McConnell Education Scholarship – Zachary Zins, a senior at St. Charles Preparatory Academy and Powell resident, is the 2011 recipient of the $10,000 scholarship that was established to honor the life and legacy of the Blue Jackets' late founder.
Columbus Dispatch Newspapers in Education (NIE) – This partnership 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 newspaper.
Deaf Initiatives – This grant helps cover travel expenses for 20 hearing impaired students and their parents to visit two colleges with large deaf populations.
CHILDREN'S HEALTH & SAFETY
KidSmiles – Grant supports construction of the KidSmiles dental clinic to provide quality dental care and education to central Ohio children at an affordable cost to their families. The proposed facility, founded by Dr. Jim Homon and his wife Julie Homon, is expected to open in the fall of 2012 and will feature prominent Blue Jackets presence highlighted by mascot Stinger positioned as the model for dental care.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio – This grant funds the major renovation of the new Jackets Zone, the 3,200 square foot basement of the Ronald McDonald House that was completely redesigned under the direction of the Lady Jackets. The hockey-themed recreation space provides much needed escape from the daily stresses a family endures during a child’s hospitalization.
Easter Seals – Grant will support a summer camp program targeting autistic children who are not able to participate in the mainstream summer camp/programming options given their disability. The program will be hosted inside the Blue Jackets Life Skills Center at Easter Seals, a state-of-the-art facility designed to replicate a home environment in which patients engage in physical therapy simulating real-world applications.
Boys Scouts of America (Simon Kenton Council) – Grant supports team's ongoing involvement in 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."
YWCA – Grant will support a program, created in conjunction with Children’s Hunger Alliance, to provide a variety of healthy foods served to the homeless children who use the center. Additionally, the program would include an exercise component.
Blue Jackets Sport Helmets – Grant provides for additional inventory of Blue Jackets sport helmets for use as a standard piece of safety equipment for all public skate sessions at the Chiller Ice Rinks.
DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH AND AMATEUR HOCKEY
Ohio AAA Blue Jackets – Grant funds hockey scholarships based on financial need for players in this elite program.
Player Hardships – Grant covers registration fees for select youth and high school players unable to pay to play.
High School Hockey Scholarship – One $10,000 scholarship was awarded to a graduating high school senior hockey players who best exemplify academic excellence and participate in extracurricular activities and community service work. This year's recipient is Tyler Shockey of Gallipolis, Ohio and the Athens High School Club Hockey League.
Columbus Ice Hockey Club – Grant provides opportunity for underserved youth to learn to skate and play hockey through the Columbus Recreation and Parks department.
The One Goal Association 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.
Northeast Storm (Ohio High School Club Hockey) – Grant covered travel expenses to send team to Chicago to compete in USA Hockey’s 2011 National High School Club Championship.
Athens Youth Hockey Association – Grant funds scholarships and purchase of equipment.
Capital Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) – Grant funds financial assistance for individuals and equipment needs.
CCYHA House Program – Grant will provide financial assistance for qualified applicants and help with expenses associated with supplies, equipment and coaching resources.
Columbus Chill Youth Hockey Association (CCYHA) Special Hockey – Grant assists team of kids with developmental disabilities with costs associated with equipment and financial need.
Easton Youth Hockey Association (EYHA) – Grant will be used to offer hockey scholarships and training for coaches.
Newark Youth Hockey Association – Grant funds player scholarships and equipment.
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 100 central Ohio high school and youth hockey coaches.
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:
CHOICES – Proceeds from the Lady Jackets 10th Season Build-A-Bear raffle; Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown - Grant made in conjunction with White Castle’s “Crave the Save” program in which the team partner pledged to donate $10 to Junior Achievement for every save made by a Blue Jackets goalie during home games throughout the current season; 50/50 Raffle – Fifteen 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.