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Garden Greats Break "Solid Ground" in MSG Charitable Program

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Stars of Madison Square Garden past and present joined Cablevision President and Chief Executive Officer James Dolan and Garden President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Checketts as they unveiled the Solid Ground Program on Thursday, March 23. The Solid Ground Program gives fans the unprecedented opportunity to purchase permanent, personalized tiles that will become part of a colorful mosaic at the front landing of the arena. All proceeds from Solid Ground benefit MSG’s Cheering for Children Foundation, which introduced its city-wide after-school initiative at the event.

Rangers captain Brian Leetch was among those on hand to unveil a few of the personalized tiles that have already been purchased. The 13-year Rangers veteran purchased a tile commemorating his first of more than 850 NHL games in a Blueshirt uniform. The captain’s plaque reads:

FEBRUARY 29, 1988 vs. ST. LOUIS

For more information on purchasing a personalized tile, please call

*Attendees of the "Solid Ground" Press Conference, included: Brian Leetch, Rod Gilbert, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Teresa Weatherspoon, Rebecca Lobo, Marv Albert, Walt Frazier, Cablevision President and CEO James Dolan and Garden President and CEO Dave Checketts.

The Cheering for Children Foundation Embracing New York organizations and people in need has long been a priority for Madison Square Garden. For many decades the Garden has worked hand in hand with New York-based organizations to raise funds and awareness for charitable programs, provide access to Garden events and personalities, and conduct athlete and entertainer appearances to schools and hospitals.

In 1998, Madison Square Garden, encompassing the New York Rangers, the New York Knicks, the New York Liberty, MSG Networks and Radio City Entertainment – sought to strengthen its impact on the community through the establishment of the Cheering for Children Foundation.

The mission of the Cheering for Children Foundation is simple – to utilize the resources of Madison Square Garden and its divisions to improve the lives of New York’s children.

Through a unique relationship with a leading non-profit after-school organization – The After-School Corporation – Madison Square Garden’s Cheering for Children Foundation is directly impacting the lives of more than 18,000 7-13 year old boys and girls in all of the five boroughs. The program, which began during the 1999-2000 school year, includes educational, athletic, artistic and social elements to inspire and empower young people to set goals and achieve success, while also providing valuable programming for after-school programs in need of positive and engaging curricula.

Each of the 78 after-school sites is also benefiting from an influx of resources designed to strengthen their athletic and artistic programs. From the donation of basketball and street hockey equipment to arts supplies, notebooks, pens and pencils, the initiative aims to provide a solid foundation for educational development.

A key component of the program is the consistent interaction among MSG athletes and executives and participating students. Several times a month, MSG athletes, on-air talent and/or executives visit students to participate in question and answer sessions, lead clinics and stress the importance of setting goals and remaining in challenging after-school programs.

The initiative completes its full circle of commitment by making “our children” feel at home at the Arena and the Music Hall, as well as at their after-school programs. More than 12,000 students attended events at Madison Square Garden as part of the initiative in the first two-months of the program alone.

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