Since the launch of the Community Hero program in 2011, it has been our honor to recognize grassroots Heroes whose noble efforts make a positive impact of others by awarding them with a Lightning Community Hero award. Honorees' rich history of volunteerism and good works are celebrated via an in-game video that illustrates how the Hero is using his or her life to help others less fortunate, and the Foundation presents the Hero with a $50,000 grant designated to the charities of his or her choice.
The Community Hero program has become a beloved part of our game presentation and philanthropic programming and the diversity of all that is good and great about Tampa Bay. To date, through the ten seasons of the program, we have celebrated 444 Heroes and donated over $23M in 940 donations to 585 unique non-profits throughout the Tampa Bay program.
We are delighted to announce that, after the first ten impactful years of the program, Jeff and Penny Vinik are generously pledging to continue the Hero program for another 5 years and $10M donation. And, in order to ensure maximum impact and participation, we are excited to expand the opportunities via which non-profits can apply for funding the program. In addition to continuing to celebrating grassroots Heroes who volunteer at local non-profits, we are now offering two additional opportunities to apply for a Community Hero award: (a) non-profits may now apply directly for $50,000 in grant funding to support specific projects and programs, all the while highlighting an internal Hero at the non-profit who champions the grant for which the non-profit is applying; (b) at 2-3 select games, player or coach may apply to support their philanthropic passion and cause in Tampa Bay.
We are honored to continue this beloved tradition for another 5 years, and invite members of the community to nominate and apply at the links below:
The Community Hero program will re-open for the 2022-23 season later this summer.
The Lightning Community Heroes Program is the signature philanthropic initiative of the Lightning Foundation and has been lauded for its innovative contributions through the sports community. In 2011, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, along with his wife, Penny, launched the Lightning Community Hero program, which is a collaboration of the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation, to celebrate deserving Heroes and distribute funding to non-profits throughout the Tampa Bay community.
At each of the Lightning's 41 regular season and playoff home games for the past ten seasons, the Lightning Community Hero program has been honored to celebrate a local Hero and donate $50,000 to a non-profit charity of his or her choice; celebrating a Community Hero has become a beloved signature moment at our home games and to date, through the 2020-2021 season, we have honored 450 Heroes and distributed over $23M to over 550 unique non-profits.