TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Willie Felton as the 29th Lightning Community Hero this season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Felton, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the funds to the multiple nonprofits, including St. Pete Free Clinic, Bethel AME Church, Academy Prep and the Theta Elta Lamda Educational Foundation.
Willie Felton has made Tampa Bay a healthier, stronger and more compassionate community. In 2003, he founded a charitable foundation at his church that has assisted approximately 65,000 individuals in receiving education, affordable housing and health care. This is accomplished through a feeding ministry that provides breakfast on Sundays and food distribution every Tuesday. In addition, Willie conducts seminars with Neighborhood Home Solutions to educate families about the value of home ownership and obtaining credit. He also organizes community health fairs to bring necessary care to the under-served.
Willie's dedication to service doesn't end there, as he has also served on the Community Alliance, an advisory committee to the Chamber of Commerce. He is credited with developing a program to teach freshmen how to succeed in college, which led Willie to develop Project Alpha to assist African American teenage boys in realizing their full potential. He also volunteers with Faith in Action Strength Together which is an interfaith collaboration that addresses homelessness, feeding and education. Overall, Felton's life has been centered on helping the community in every way he can, and he has made it his mission to become a voice for those who are less fortunate.
Willie Felton becomes the 300th 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 $15.1 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.