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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 19 – The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has donated more than $1 million in Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game tickets to the Tickets for Kids Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit charity committed to enriching the lives of underserved children and their families. More than 14,000 tickets will be distributed to children in local communities through various social service organizations that are partners of the Tickets for Kids Foundation.

“We at UPMC are proud of our outstanding partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which allows us to bring together the extraordinary mission of the Tickets for Kids Foundation with some of the best hockey and hockey players in the world,” said Jim Terwilliger, vice president of operations for UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside. “We take great pleasure in enabling Pittsburgh children to experience these games, during what is expected to be one of the most exciting hockey seasons in Penguins history.” UPMC has been a corporate sponsor and official sports medicine provider for the Penguins since 1999.

The Tickets for Kids Foundation fulfills its mission by obtaining tickets to a wide variety of local events and attractions – including educational, arts and cultural, family entertainment and sporting

events – and donating those tickets to the neediest children served by hundreds of social service agencies and community groups located in the often-neglected neighborhoods of the City and surrounding counties. In doing so, Tickets for Kids hopes to bring a source of joy to children and families, who otherwise may never have a chance to participate fully in our enriching community resources.

“UPMC’s generosity and commitment toward community service is one of the many reasons we’re proud that UPMC is our partner. UPMC’s gift will ensure that many children will have the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of Penguins hockey and a night out at Mellon Arena,” said

Dave Soltesz, vice president of sales and marketing for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“The outstanding donation from UPMC provides the opportunity for thousands of children to become part of our community through the simple gesture of including them at a Penguins game,” said Vera Marelli, program director of the Tickets for Kids Foundation. “Every ticket becomes a chance to create magical moments…lifetime memories for some of our most forgotten children. Without the support of UPMC and the Pittsburgh Penguins, these children would be excluded from enjoying what so many of us take for granted,” Ms. Marelli added.

Tickets for Kids has a well-established program of distributing tickets to its member organizations and well-established procedures to ensure that the tickets are put to the best use. The foundation serves as a link between organizations that have tickets to distribute and those who will use them responsibly.

Some of the UPMC/Penguins tickets will be used, for example, as incentives for community participation in various public health promotion and educational initiatives at UPMC’s community hospitals including UPMC Braddock. Some tickets are earmarked for youths who participate in other UPMC community service arrangements such as the Hill District’s Matilda Theiss Child Development Center and Community Connections for Families, and student athletes at Pittsburgh Public Schools, who are under the care of UPMC certified athletic trainers.

UPMC Gives Additional $50,000 Cash Gift to Tickets for Kids Foundation

In addition to the ticket donation, UPMC has given a $50,000 cash gift to the Tickets for Kids Foundation to support its Discovering My Neighborhood program. The total UPMC/Penguins gift marks the single largest donation to Tickets for Kids.

The innovative Discovering My Neighborhood program assures that local children are welcomed into events, activities and landmarks within the Greater Pittsburgh area at large. “Pittsburgh has long been known for isolated neighborhoods and families not traveling beyond these boundaries. This program, now supported in part by UPMC – the regional leader in health care – highlights the fact that all of the Greater Pittsburgh area is our neighborhood, erasing those imaginary lines that separate us,” explained

Ms. Marelli. “UPMC has made it possible for children to discover the Mellon Arena while enjoying a Penguins game, and being a part of their neighborhood.”

For more information on the Tickets for Kids Foundation and how you can help, please call

(412) 781-KIDS.

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