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“Words of Wisdom from the Captain”
by Rick Jones

Coaches Care! And, our coaches’ trade associations are making a big difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

The official charity of the NABC is “Coaches vs. Cancer”, a joint venture between the men’s college basketball coaches and the American Cancer Society.  Founded in 1993 by NABC former president Coach Norm Stewart of the University of Missouri who had successfully battled prostate cancer, Coaches vs. Cancer unites coaches across the country in the common mission to provide help and hope to all people facing cancer.  Today, more than 500 college and 100 high school coaches are involved with the program and nearly $40 million has been raised through their collective efforts.  Maryland Head Coach Gary Williams serves as the current president of the Coaches vs. Cancer Coaches Council. Coaches and their wives raise funds through a number of initiatives including Black Tie Galas, golf tournaments, banquets and other activities.  The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic is held annually in Madison Square Garden in New York City featuring four top college teams.
Many college basketball coaches also support The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  Started in 1993 by Coach Jim Valvano and ESPN shortly before Jim lost his battle with cancer, The V Foundation seeks to make a difference by generating broad-based support for cancer research through advocacy, education, fundraising and philanthropy.  ESPN hosts an annual Jimmy V Week in December featuring the men’s and women’s Jimmy V Classics and other activities. Proceeds from the ESPY Awards also benefit the V Foundation.  Many of our coaches participate in V Foundation activities including the annual V Foundation Wine Celebration, the Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic and the Dick Vitale Gala. Since its inception, The V Foundation has raised over $70 million and awarded research grants in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

The NABC Foundation funds three major initiatives – Ticket to Reading Rewards, a middle school reading incentive program; the College Basketball Experience (CBE) and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City; and, The NABC Foundation Benevolent Fund, providing funds for down-on-their luck college and high school coaches.  The NABC Foundation raises funds through a number of initiatives and will hold its inaugural fund raising gala this April in Chicago honoring USA Basketball President Jerry Colangelo.
The official charity of the WBCA is the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund.  Founded in December 2007, the Fund is named for North Carolina State Head Coach and Hall of Famer Kay Yow, who lost her battle with cancer in January of 2009. Many of America’s top women’s coaches including Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma and Vivian Stringer serve on the Board of Directors along with executives from the NCAA, ESPN and The V Foundation. The Fund is the major women’s cancer initiative of the V Foundation for Cancer Research and will provide research grants for breast, ovarian and other cancers affecting women.  The Fund’s major initiative is the annual Pink Zone in February where coaches, fans, students and corporations unite to raise awareness and funds for the cause.

The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) supports a number of charitable and recognition initiatives. The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team recognizes college football players that make a significant difference on their campuses and communities through community service/charitable activities.  The AFCA also supports and funds The Jason Foundation, an organization dedicated to youth suicide awareness and prevention and The National Child Identification Program which has provided over 14 million Child ID Kits enabling parents to record their children’s fingerprints and physical characteristics in case they are lost, kidnapped or run away from home.

FishBait’s newest client, The National Football Foundation (NFF) annually awards post-graduate scholarships to college football players and managers to pursue graduate studies. The NFF also provides funding for Play It Smart, an educational program that assists high school football players from economically disadvantaged environments.

Wow – what a lineup of causes and charitable endeavors!  For more information on how you or your company can become involved with one or more of these charitable organizations and related programming, please contact me directly.

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