TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Michelle Shimberg as the 16th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Boston Bruins. Shimberg, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Evolution Institute, Hillsborough Education Foundation and Starting Right, Now.
Shimberg has been on the front lines providing support and guidance in Tampa Bay to at-risk students, homeless teenagers, first-generation college students and young women for over 25 years. She has tutored, mentored, and supported over 1,500 children, teens, and young adults in Hillsbourough. All of her volunteer work has culminated in the creation of a primary school in east Tampa, the East Tampa Academy, a Title 1 charter school serving low-income young students and their families. After just its first year, students went from failing out to performing at or above grade level, making it one of the better achieving schools in Hillsborough County.
Michelle established food banks with Jewish Family Services and Rainbow Heights Community Association. She secured tutors from her vast network of family, friends, and colleagues at the USF College of Education, and she developed a fine arts partnership with the Straz Center. Shimberg has also been on the board of the nonprofit Starting Right Now for 10+ years where she helped transform the organization into a powerful agency that serves homeless youth effectively. As a "Second Mom" for at-risk males through her work with Men of Vision, Michelle helps teens apply to college and obtain financial aid and housing.
Michelle Shimberg becomes the 339th 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 $17.05 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.