The Dallas Stars have been involved in charitable initiatives since their inaugural season in Dallas, 1993-94.
During their first year in Dallas, the Stars introduced their "Skate with the Stars" event, a family-oriented event which allowed fans the opportunity to enjoy skating, photographs and autographs with the Stars players. Before the Foundation was created, the Stars picked three local charities each year as beneficiaries of this event. Benefiting charities included the Vogel Alcove, United Way's Success by Six, and the Family Place.
In 1997, the Stars partnered with Olympic Gold Medalist Bonnie Blair to create the "Dallas Stars Bonnie Blair Golf Classic." The first event was immediately heralded as a Stars favorite, and it went on to raise over $342,000. Prior to the addition of the Foundation as a beneficiary in 1998, the event's charities included American Brain Tumor Association and Texas Liver Coalition.
Another program that began shortly after the Stars moved to town was NHL StreetStars, a grassroots youth hockey initiative that allowed kids the chance to experience organized street hockey at their local recreation and community centers. The program's aim is to make hockey more accessible to kids, but to also expand and diversify the NHL fan base. Through NHL Street, the NHL and the Dallas Stars hope to provide communities with a sports program that promotes education, sportsmanship and fitness through participation in hockey. This program has undergone a slight transformation. In 2013 the Dallas Stars rebranded the program as Little Rookies. Funded by the Dallas Stars Foundation, The Dallas Stars Little Rookies program is a free 4-week hockey camp for kids. Designed by Mike Modano, the camp focuses on teaching children the fundamentals of hockey, all in rink-provided equipment to keep the program truly free for kids to try. Children receive a Little Rookies jersey to keep and receive a free ticket to an upcoming Stars game.
With the rapid growth of the Stars' involvement in the community, it became evident that the establishment of a charitable organization was necessary. A foundation would allow the Stars to concentrate their efforts more effectively and maximize their potential in the community.
After discussions with team management and player representatives, it was decided that the Foundation would be a program- and grant-based charity, with a particular focus on supporting children. In consideration of this, the Foundation adopted the following mission:
The Dallas Stars Foundation was established to serve as a positive force throughout the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex. The Foundation focuses its efforts on providing support to children of the community so they may lead quality lives and develop into contributing members of society. Through teamwork, interaction, and education, the Dallas Stars Foundation works to bring together all members of the Metroplex and build a bright future for today's youth.
The Dallas Stars Foundation's official date of qualification was August 20, 1998.
After a year of fundraising and creating public awareness of its existence, the Dallas Stars Foundation was able to donate its first round of grants to local charities in the fall of 1999. The Dallas Stars Foundation's most rewarding activity is being able to make a positive difference in children's lives and provide them with life-impacting opportunities they would not otherwise have. The Foundation continues to distribute monetary grants on an annual basis to various local children's charities. The Foundation has awarded more than $4 million to these charities since the first round of grants were donated. These charitable grants focus on a myriad of worthwhile causes such as medical and other basic needs for disadvantaged youth, educational and social issues, family support, and crisis intervention.
n 2006 the Dallas Stars Foundation announced a $250,000 pledge to match a similar pledge made by Love for Children, Inc. to the Children's Legacy hospital. The $250,000 gift is the largest in history for the Dallas Stars Foundation. The combined $500,000 pledge funded a 1,282 square-foot family great room in the new pediatric hospital divided into three areas: a play area, a study and a family room. The play area allows each child to play at will and socialize, while temporarily escaping the constraints of their visit.
During the 2006-07 season, the 55th NHL All-Star game was held in Dallas. Much of the week's activities focused on community events such as Habitat for Humanity, the unveiling of a new playroom at Cook Children's Medical Center, hunger awareness at North Texas Food Bank, educational programming through the Dallas Stars Stick with Reading program, and a focus on exercise and hockey through the NHL StreetStars program. The All-Star Race and Roll kicked off the entire week with all proceeds benefitting the Dallas Stars Foundation. Marty Turco was also awarded the NHL Foundation Player Award during the season, in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community. Turco received $25,000 from the NHL Foundation as part of the award to further his charitable works. He generously split the award between the Dallas Stars Foundation and his own foundation, Marty's Promise. The 2006-07 season marked the first year in which the entire Dallas Stars team participated in the Teammates for Kids program. Players contribute a pre-determined sum based on selected on-ice performance categories such as goals scored or team wins, and every dollar contributed is matched by Teammates for Kids. As a result of the Dallas Stars team's participation, $48,000 was donated to the Dallas Stars Foundation by the Teammates for Kids Foundation. During the 2007 grant Cycle, the Dallas Stars Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to United Cerebral Palsy of Greater DFW. The grant was used to construct a Dallas Stars themed indoor playground for the children at UCP which provides additional therapeutic equipment to use with children in therapy and in the preschool program. The Dallas Stars players' wives even visited UCP and spent some time interacting and playing with the children during the holiday season.
For the 2009-10 season, the Dallas Stars Foundation established four primary fundraisers that enabled the Foundation to provide the grants mentioned above. The Dallas Stars Golf Tournament, Dallas Stars/Park Place Casino Night, the Holiday Mystery Puck Sale and the Annual Foundation Calendar. In addition to its fundraising and grant activities, the Foundation implemented a number of educational programs that it produces and provides to Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex schools. These programs addressed important issues such as literacy; character building and career planning that are designed to help pave the way for each child's long-term success and self-fulfillment. Literacy was a particular focus of the Foundation's efforts, and each year an average of 20,000 students participated in the Stick With Reading program, which encourages kids to develop the healthy habit of reading in their leisure time. Stars goaltender Marty Turco was the Stick with Reading spokesman from the 2001-2002 season until the end of the 2010 seaon. Each spring, the Bob Gainey Honorary Scholarship is awarded to a deserving Metroplex high school senior who has excelled in the classroom and on the playing field, and has exhibited the qualities of dignity, integrity and determination for which the award's namesake is known.
Each year, the Foundation also provides the Junior Stars scholarship to young hockey players and figure skaters who exhibit not only leadership and sportsmanship on the ice, but also academic achievement and community-mindedness off the ice.
In 2011 the Dallas Stars went under new ownership. Tom Gaglardi, a resident of Vancouver, purchased the team from the NHL. With the team under new ownership the organization went through an entire rebranding process in the summer of 2013. The Foundation was no exception.
With a new logo and a new Executive Director the Dallas Stars Foundation now focuses its efforts on three main pillars, youth hockey, youth engagement and youth health and education. The Foundation has three primary fundraisers, Park Place Casino Night, Mystery Puck Sale and Hockey & Heels. As a tribute to his commitment to the Dallas Stars Foundation, owner Tom Gaglardi gifted the Foundation with a $100,000 match of all funds raised at the 2014 Park Place Lexus Jaguar Casino Night.
The new look of the Dallas Stars brought some new programing as well. The Dallas Stars Foundation, along with funding Little Rookies, also funds Fitness Stars. Fitness Stars is a 5-10 week program aimed at fighting childhood obesity in Phy-Ed classes across DFW. Children complete 5 Fitness Challenges and receive a bracelet with a charm for each challenge they complete. Once all five are accomplished, children receive a ticket voucher for a free Stars ticket.
Through Hockey & Heels, the Dallas Stars Foundation kicked off the first ever Foundation membership program. Foundation members receive exclusive volunteer opportunities, as well as invites to private Foundation events.
The Foundation frequently comes to the aid of community members during times of crisis, such as the family of slain Irving PD Officer Aubrey Hawkins in December 2000. The Foundation donated over $7,500 to the Hawkins Memorial Fund following that tragedy. The Foundation also organized and held the Dallas Stars 9-11 Charity Softball Game in response to the events of September 11th, and raised $130,000 for the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund. The Foundation has also made donations to families of military personnel serving in Iraq and other overseas locations. In light of the tragedies affiliated with one of the most treacherous hurricane seasons ever recorded, during the 2005-06 season, the Stars conducted a preseason initiative to raise emergency aid for all those affected by the hurricanes. The Foundation raised close to $25,000 in relief aid. Also during the 2005-06 season, the Dallas Stars, along with the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, collected items for soldiers at homes games during the holidays. These gifts were then delivered personally by the Dallas Stars Ice Girls, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat dancers to wounded soldiers and military personnel at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the largest American hospital outside the United States. The Dallas Stars Foundation donated $10,000 to the Fort Hood community in light of the tragic events that occurred on November 5, 2009. More recently the Dallas Stars Foundation and its players raised money for the victims of West, TX explosions. The Dallas Stars Foundation looks forward to continuing its commitment to the Metroplex. The Dallas Stars players have established very high standards for their charitable involvement, and the Foundation will work to ensure that these values are carried forward into each new season.