TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Joe Clark as the 12th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Minnesota Wild. Clark received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program. He will donate to Eckerd Connects/Youth Alternatives, Computer Mentors Group, Portico and The Wells Inc. (Built Bikes). Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $19 million to more than 750 different nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.
Clark has selflessly dedicated his time over the past 40 years serving on community boards, advisory boards and task forces throughout Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. As Eckerd Foundation President, Clark worked to provide foster care and educational support to youth in the juvenile justice system. Under his leadership, the Eckerd Family Foundation invested $100-million promoting systemic change in areas of juvenile justice in the community, including helping at-risk youth successfully transition into adulthood. The foundation granted millions of dollars in grants to 660 nonprofits that aid in supporting at-risk children and their families. In addition, Clark volunteers more than 60 hours a month serving as Board member of the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, Eckerd Connects and the Community Advisory Board of the Junior League of Tampa.
Through his work with the Eckerd Family Foundation, Clark has influenced other philanthropic families and funders, including the Florida Philanthropy network, the Youth Transitions Funders group and Campaign for Youth Justice. Clark also initiated a program in the Vocational and Career Education Centers as an effort to increase graduation rates in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. The program provides work clothes, tools and monetary support to students who chose to attend a community college.
Clark becomes the 380th 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. 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.