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Preds Recognized With Corporate Philanthropy Award

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators have been named one of Nashville Business Journal's 2010 Corporate Philanthropy Awards Winners. The judges were overwhelmed by all that the organization does for the community, and will recognize the Nashville Predators for their outstanding philanthropic efforts at a special section and awards luncheon (on Thursday, May 13) celebrating 12 companies who go above and beyond in their philanthropic efforts, making a tremendous positive impact on local charities and non-profits. At the event, one company will be selected to be honored at the national Jefferson Awards in Washington, D.C.

During the 2009 calendar year, the Nashville Predators Foundation awarded 90 grants to Nashville area community service and charitable organizations that totaled more than $300,000. These grants were designated to fund specific programs and projects, insuring the funds are benefiting those most in need of support and assistance. A few examples of grant funds usage were: the construction of a new play structure at Urban Housing Solutions; camp scholarships for youngsters to attend Camp Widjiwagan; purchase of baby cribs, mattresses, car seats and swings for Grace Pregnancy Resource Center; new washers and dryers at Ronald McDonald House and new bedroom furniture at My Friend’s House.

Additionally, the Predators Foundation awarded tickets and in-kind donations (autographed memorabilia, etc) to schools as rewards/incentives and to community service and charitable organizations to be used as fund-raisers throughout the year.

But financial support is only one part of the involvement of the Nashville Predators and the Predators Foundation within the Nashville area community. The organization’s most visible assets, the players, coaches and mascot (GNASH), make hundreds of appearances throughout the year, serving as role models and providing support and leadership throughout the area.

Below are a few of the unique programs that the Predators have spearheaded…
•The Nashville Predators enjoy a fully integrated relationship with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. This relationship involves players making monthly visits to the facility to spend time with hospitalized youngsters. Of particular interest, the players dressed up in Halloween costumes for a “reverse Trick or Treat” and brought children Halloween treats.

•The Predators Foundation also hosts two We Care for Kids nights during the season. On these nights, a portion of ticket proceeds are designated for Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital, a ceremonial face-off with representatives from the hospital participating, information tables are located and staffed throughout the concourse and the game night silent auction proceeds are directed to the hospital, all designed to raise awareness for the pediatric center! Pediatric cancer patients and their families are invited to attend the game as a guest of the Nashville Predators. In 2009 over $100,000 was raised for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

•Additionally, J.P. Dumont, recognized one year ago as the Nashville Sports Council’s Community Spirit Award winner in appreciation for his ongoing involvement in community relations, purchases a suite and invites hospitalized youngsters and their families to Predators home games and then hosts the youngsters for a post-game “Meet and Greet” outside the Predators’ dressing room.

•A program driven by the players was participation in the world-wide awareness movement “Movember” in which the players, along with Predators staff members, grew moustaches for one month to raise funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer. The program received significant visibility via Predators broadcasts as well as through and game programs.

•Each year the Nashville Predators host “Community Day” where every single member of the Nashville Predators team is out in the community in Middle Tennessee. While all players make a number of appearances throughout the season, last October was the fourth time in which more than 20 of the club’s players were involved in separate endeavors on the same day. Appearances were made at places such as community centers, youth street hockey clinics, hospitals and corporate sponsors. Players visited patients, read and interacted with students, taught hockey clinics, assisted sponsors and greeted fans.

•Also, the Predators family participates in Stick to Reading and Friday FunDay programs. During the season, players visit schools and libraries to read books to students on a monthly basis. They talk about the importance of learning to read and education. When the team is on the road, player’s wives and girlfriends also participate in the program. In the off-season, staff volunteers at youth agencies that incorporate summer reading into their summer programming. Through these two programs – Stick to Reading and Friday FunDay – the Predators reached several thousand children in 2009.

The Preds organization re-affirmed it's place as a community leader during the recent flooding in the Nashville area. The Predators Foundation and National Hockey League each made a donation to the Metro Nashville Disaster Response Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. And every single Predator player made a financial contribution to the American Red Cross. Beyond financial assistance, the players, coaches, and staff members worked with organizations such as Nashville Humane Association, LP Pencil Box, Y.E.S., St. Luke’s Community Center and in the following communities that were especially hard-hit: West Nashville, Bellevue, Cottonwood and Fieldstone Farms in Franklin. J.P. Dumont was in West Nashville for several hours on Friday assisting with clean-up efforts. Terry Crisp appeared on Channel 5’s telethon last Wednesday, encouraging donations and taking calls. Barry Trotz appeared on Channel 2’s telethon the same night, while Wade Belak appeared last Thursday taking calls and was followed by Steve Sullivan on last Friday’s telethon. Pete Weber, Terry Crisp, Tom Callahan, Martin Erat, representatives of the dance team and several staff members volunteered to assist Cumulus Radio’s two-day collection by unloading donations, filling boxes and loading two semi-trailers with various cleaning supplies and associated materials.

The Predators Foundation has been committed to providing assistance and support to Nashville area charitable and community service organizations since the team came to Nashville in 1997. The Foundation was created in 1998 and since its formation, has presented more than $2.5 million in grants to area charitable and community service organizations. The Predators have recognized that they can play an important role in the community beyond what takes place on the ice. The organization has the ability to generate assist charitable and community service organizations financially, but also by bringing attention to each of the groups which they support. As well, player and staff participation allow the organization to extend its reach and impact via interactive programs and projects, such as player appearances in schools, at hospitals and at youth centers.

Despite the economic challenges that impacted many businesses and individuals, the Predators Foundation enjoyed its most successful year to date in 2009, as it awarded the largest grant total in the organization’s history.

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