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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning
The 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Lightning Foundation is awarding nine financial grants for a grand total of $70,500 this evening at a reception to be held in the XO Club at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Each applicant was asked to detail its organization, a proposed program or project and a description of how it qualifies under the guidelines of the Lightning Foundation's Funding Guidelines. The Foundation's Board of Directors selected the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, School Enrichment Resource Volunteers in Education (SERVE), the St. Peter Claver Catholic School Tuition Scholarship Fund, the Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey Program, the St. Francis Foundation, Inc., The Spring, A Gift for Teaching of Tampa, the Salesian Youth Center/Boys and Girls Club of America and Cby25-Connected by 25. Each will receive a grant for their programs.

"The advent of our grant program represents the maturation and development of the Lightning Foundation over the past few years," said Tampa Bay Lightning President Ron Campbell. "Our goal is to increase and expand the program on an annual basis, touching as many facets of the Tampa Bay community as we can. We are pleased to present these nine grants this evening, while pledging to do more in the future."

The Pediatric Cancer Foundation's Sunshine Project is a collaborative model designed to fund pediatric cancer research. The project has an ambitious three-year goal and the Lightning Foundation's focus on medical causes helped create this partnership. Medical and research institutions involved include the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, City of Hope Cancer Center (California), All Children's Hospital, Miami Children's Hospital, Nemours (Jacksonville) and the University of Miami.

SERVE's grant will aid in its goal to increase student achievement and enhance the educational experience by providing community volunteers that support Hillsborough County Educators. The grant will benefit SERVE's Speakers Bureau program which schedules more than 1,500 presentations annually, reaching more than 70,000 students.

St. Peter Claver Catholic School will receive a grant for its Tuition Scholarship fund, allowing the school to award two scholarships for 2006-07. St. Peter Claver is the oldest African-American school in the state of Florida.

Sled Hockey Tampa Bay was awarded for its Tampa Bay Lightning Sled Hockey Program which will provide equipment and support for sled hockey in the community. Sled hockey gives the physically challenged a chance to play hockey and is recognized internationally as part of the Para-Lympics. Tampa native Travis Leigh attended Chico State College in Chico, California and played goaltender for a sled hockey team in Sacramento. He will assist Lightning Director of Fan Development David Cole in coordinating the program.

The St. Francis Foundation Inc./Everyday Blessings provides food, clothing, shelter, tutoring, therapy and live-in caregivers who act as surrogate moms and dads who live at Everyday Blessings. The grant will provide cell phones and computers for eight social workers working with foster and adoptive families.

The Spring will also receive a grant for its 'Peace in Action' program for domestic violence education and prevention. The program will serve 60-70 adolescent participants and their parents and will help to improve the opportunity for youth to change their violent behavior, reduce the impact of children and adolescents' exposure to violence and reduce family violence and juvenile crime in Hillsborough County.

A Gift for Teaching of Tampa, Inc. will use its grant for the One School, One Representative shopper program. The program allows approximately 6,000 economically disadvantaged students in 10 Hillsborough County school access to supplies they would otherwise have. The grant will support one of the 10 chosen schools and will help ensure poverty is not a barrier to education.

The grant awarded to the Salesian Youth Center/Boys and Girls Club of America will provide scholarships for needy children to attend the center's programs year-round, including the summer program. The center provides programs in character, leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation. It also provides enhanced programs in sewing, music, reading, tap dance and computers.

The final grant will be awarded to Cby25-Connected by 25. Cby25 addresses the unique challenges faced by youth aging out of foster care and generates community and state support to expand and develop services. The grant provides a partial salary for a certified teacher tutoring current and former foster care students. "Connection with Education" will serve 200 students between the ages of 14 and 23.

Including the nine grants, the Lightning Foundation donated $462,757.75 in cash during the 2005-06 season. In total, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Lightning Foundation and associate organizations generated more than $2 million in cash and kind during the fiscal year. The charity arm of the Tampa Bay Lightning is dedicated to the support of local organizations that enrich and enhance the lives of those living throughout the Tampa Bay community, focusing its unique resources to advance amateur hockey and educational enrichment opportunities for children and families, along with medical research and treatment for those in need while making Tampa Bay a better place to live, work and play.
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