TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Brian McEwen as the 38th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. McEwen, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the funds to Champions for Children.
As a licensed mental health therapist, the first 20 years of Brian's career was providing, managing and coordinating counseling and therapy for children, adolescents and adults. Since then, McEwen has utilized his education, leadership and expertise to make lives better for children in Tampa Bay. His passion is working with families, strengthening and guiding them to ensure children have stable, safe and healthy futures. He has been able to increase community awareness, involvement, understanding and attention to the critical, life-changing importance of the first three years of a child's life.
In 2000, Brian joined Champions for Children. The past five years, as Champions' executive director, he has solidified long-standing programs, established new ones and expanded community partnerships to reach more children and families with services. Brian and Champions for Children have been in the forefront of creating programs that address the needs of children and provide education and support for their parents. Champions' 11 programs begin prenatally and continue through early childhood. During Brian's tenure, over 500,000 children and adults have been served by Champions for Children.
Brian McEwen becomes the 309th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $15.55 million to more than 400 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2016, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.