TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Tod Leiweke as the 41st Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the New Jersey Devils. Leiweke, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).
When Tod Leiweke joined the Lightning in 2010, he and owner Jeff Vinik had a vision of creating a world class organization on and off the ice. Leiweke had a true knack to bring the best out of everyone around him and through his tireless dedication to the Tampa Bay community, made it a better place to live, work and play. During his five years in Tampa, Leiweke was very involved with local charities, co-chairing the FARA Energy Ball and Cattle Baron's Ball and acting as a co-chairman of the Steps Forward Project.
Leiweke and Vinik brought the Community Hero initiative to life five years ago and it is only fitting that Leiweke is honored during the last regular season game of the five year program. The former Lightning CEO inspired the Lightning, as an organization, to focus on making the local community a better place and to make an impact on other people's lives. In addition to creating the Lightning Community Hero program, Leiweke was the inspiration for the C.H.A.R.G.E employee volunteer program, as well as dozens of other Lightning community initiatives. Leiweke's passion helped inspire and motivate Tampa Bay residents to strive to be heroes in making their own neighborhoods safer and better.
Leiweke becomes the 220th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the 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 $11.15 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.