At a time when the Nashville Predators organization continues to break records on and off the ice, another was smashed on Tuesday morning.
The Nashville Predators Foundation distributed 113 grants, totaling a record $450,772.87 to Nashville and Middle Tennessee-based charitable and community service organizations during the Foundation’s annual grant distribution ceremony held at Bridgestone Arena.
Grant recipients were on hand to receive their award, snap a photo with Preds mascot Gnash, Preds President and CEO Sean Henry, and Foundation member Kristen Laviolette – wife of Head Coach Peter Laviolette – and take part in a plaza party following the ceremony, along with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, as part of their “The Big Payback” campaign.
“The Foundation is so critical to so many of our nonprofits’ success across Nashville, and today, to be able to give over $450,000 to those nonprofits is going to make a huge difference in Nashville,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, who also made an appearance at the ceremony. “The Predators are such a great presence in Nashville just by being here, and the fact they have such a commitment to community to give and give and give some more, it’s so meaningful to everybody.”
One of Tuesday’s grant recipients was Room In The Inn, a full-service facility emphasizing human development through education, self-help and work, centered in community and long-term support. The grant, which will be used to mail gifts selected by Room In The Inn participants to send to their children and families, will go a long way toward reshaping the lives of others in the community.
“The Preds Foundations is a wonderful community partner,” Room In The Inn Executive Director Rachel Hester said. “It’s a genuine relationship, and I’m pleased to call them a neighbor.”
Nashville Diaper Connection, an organization committed to ensuring that every baby in Nashville has enough diapers to remain clean, dry and healthy, also received one of the 113 grants. A featured charity for the 2015-16 season with the Preds, Nashville Diaper Connection will use the grant to pay for a month’s worth of diapers, totaling about 16,000 diapers in all.
“This is amazing; another first-class, community engagement with the Nashville Predators,” President of Nashville Diaper Connection Doug Adair said. “They’re great partners, and to see this whole room full of folks, everybody benefitting from what they’re doing, plus what they’re doing with The Big Payback is an enormous commitment to this community. We couldn’t do what we do without the Nashville Predators.”
With the help of the Foundation, the Preds influence in the community only continues to expand beyond the walls of Bridgestone Arena throughout Middle Tennessee, and Tuesday’s festivities were only the start of a special year for more than 100 organizations that call Nashville home.
“The best part is being able to spread love wherever we can,” Hester said. “The Preds are doing that, we’re doing that and that’s what this day is all about.”
Including the more than $450,000 in grant money distributed on Tuesday, Jack Diller Scholarships, the 365 Pediatric Cancer Research Fund presented by Dollar General, KABOOM playground involvement, and the Legacy Project at the Nashville Inner City Ministries, the Nashville Predators Foundation donated more than $1 million in cash to Nashville and Middle Tennessee community service and charitable organizations during the 2015-16 season. Established in 1998, the Foundation also serves the community through in-kind donations, player ticket programs, assisting in fundraising efforts and more.