NFC Spring Roundup

Following up the previous post from the NFL's PR Dept., here is the local community news from the NFC teams:


NFC SPRING ROUND-UP
 
ARIZONA:  Cardinals owner BILL BIDWILL was honored by the Fritz Pollard Alliance with the Paul "Tank" Younger Award for diversity in hiring practices.  Formed in 2003, the Fritz Pollard Alliance was organized for the purpose of promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of NFL teams.  The Fritz Pollard Alliance works closely with the NFL to develop hiring guidelines for front office and scouting positions as well as talent development.  The award, which has been presented annually since 2003, recognizes individuals for extraordinary contributions toward diversity in the NFL.  "When you look back over the years, going back to his time in St. Louis, Mr. Bidwill has a long history of hiring minorities to administrative and authoritative positions," says JOHN WOOTEN, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance.  "He has really helped level the playing field and that is what this award is all about."


ATLANTA:  Former running back WARRICK DUNN became a limited partner of the Falcons following the closing of his minority ownership purchase of the club.  "This opportunity fulfills one of my professional goals to expand my knowledge and experience in the area of NFL team management, branding and operations," says Dunn, who also became a member of the Atlanta Falcons Board of Advisors, a group that supports the team’s business and player development efforts as well as serves as Falcons ambassadors in the community.  "During his tenure with the Falcons and throughout his NFL career, Warrick represented the highest of NFL standards on and off the field," says team owner and CEO ARTHUR BLANK.  "Warrick has a special affinity for the Falcons, as we do for him, and we are very happy he will be back in the Falcons family representing our club as a limited partner." 
 
CAROLINA:  The Panthers have agreed to hold the team’s training camp at Wofford College through the 2014 season, extending one of the longest NFL training camp partnerships.  The Panthers have held the club’s training camp at Wofford every year the team has been in existence.  "We are very pleased to continue our long association with Wofford College," says Panthers president DANNY MORRISON, who was the school’s athletic director when the affiliation began in 1995.  "There is a strong bond between the team and the school and we do not think any team has better training camp facilities.  It has been a mutually beneficial relationship and we are pleased that it will extend into the future."  The relationship between the school and the team has another common bond – Panthers owner JERRY RICHARDSON attended Wofford and played wide receiver for the Terriers in the 1950s.  "We are thrilled that Wofford will continue to host the Carolina Panthers," says Wofford athletic director RICHARD JOHNSON.  "We continue to be deeply appreciative to the individuals and organizations who helped entice the Panthers to hold training camp at Wofford 15 years ago.  The relationship has been very positive for the Spartanburg community, Wofford and many Panthers fans in the area."
 
CHICAGO:  Bears head coach LOVIE SMITH and his wife MARYANNE recently served as the honorary chairs for the American Diabetes Association’s 6th Annual Care to Cure: A Sunday Brunch at the Soldier Field United Club.  The event is an annual fundraiser that benefits American Diabetes Association (ADA) research, programs and advocacy with a special opportunity to support the organization’s summer camp for children with diabetes.  "The ADA is the only organization in Northern Illinois that provides support to children with diabetes and their families through our unique camping program and other youth initiatives," says NANCY HARRIS, senior executive director of the ADA.  "This event is a great opportunity to send a child with diabetes to camp, and raise funds that will go towards finding a cure."  In addition, Smith will be the featured speaker at By the Hand Club of Kids’ annual Spring Benefit on April 8 at Soldier Field.  He is also currently serving as the spokesperson for Ronald McDonald House Charities.  A new house is being constructed in Chicago and the Bears are actively supporting the cause.  Bears Care, the charitable beneficiary of the Chicago Bears, donated $10,000 to fund a "Bears Room" at the new house. 
 
DALLAS:  The National Football Foundation (NFF) Gridiron Club of Dallas will present its Distinguished Texan Award to Cowboys owner JERRY JONES at its second annual scholar-athlete banquet on April 20 at Cowboys Stadium.  The Distinguished Texan Award, the group’s most prestigious award, pays tribute to an outstanding person who has maintained a lifetime of interest in the game of football and has been a significant contributor to the betterment of the game.  "Jerry Jones is a true pioneer whose impact extends far beyond molding the Dallas Cowboys into one of the most valuable franchises in sports history," says STEVEN J. HATCHELL, NFF president and CEO.  "He is a visionary whose bold moves have set the standard for the entire sports industry, and most importantly, he is a humanitarian with a passion for giving back.  We are proud to announce that he’ll accept our Distinguished Texan Award." 
 
DETROIT:  Detroit Lions Charities, the team’s philanthropic foundation, has awarded 88 grants totaling nearly $350,000 to non-profit agencies in 2009-2010.  This year’s awards bring the organization’s total donations to almost $5.6 million in its 20-year history.  Detroit Lions Charities was established in 1990 to assist all age groups in a diverse range of needs and programs in Michigan.  Particular emphasis is placed on programs that benefit the children of Detroit.  "Detroit Lions Charities is honored and pleased to partner with so many outstanding charitable organizations in making the most positive impact we can in the community," says Lions president TOM LEWAND.  "These organizations have proven track records in making a difference especially during these difficult times when needs are so great."
 
GREEN BAY:  The team’s annual Fan Fest, a celebration of Packers football for the whole family, held the first-ever Kids Camp this year on March 13.  Nearly 200 boys and girls between the ages of six and 14 participated in a series of football drills under the guidance of current and former Packers.  The event took place inside the Don Hutson center.  Kids worked on their speed by quick-stepping through the ropes, just like players do at training camp.  The participants ran around stationary blockers and threw blocks into pads themselves.  They took handoffs and jumped through blocking pads to get to the end zone.  They also tested their accuracy by throwing some passes of their own at different targets and fought through obstacles to catch throws from Packers players.  "Just to interact with the players, that’s cool for the kids to be able to do that," said one parent.  "It’s the Packers.  It’s Lambeau Field.  It’s a tradition that I want to make into something special for my kids."
 
MINNESOTA:  The club held the 15th annual Minnesota Vikings Arctic Blast snowmobile rally in the Mille Lacs Lake area to support the Vikings Children’s Fund.  Fans had a chance to snowmobile with current and former Vikings players, front office executives and cheerleaders.  "It’s an opportunity to come out and get to know the fans and answer their questions," says Vikings vice president of player personnel RICK SPIELMAN.  "It’s such a great event and a great charity."  The proceeds from the event benefitted the Vikings Children’s Fund, a means for the organization’s players, coaches, staff and their families to focus on their community support.  Their mission is to combine their time and resources, through events and appearances, with that of the corporate community and fans in an effort to support the many needs of children in the Upper Midwest.  "Giving back to the community is a privilege," says team president MARK WILF. 
 
NEW ORLEANS:  Owner TOM BENSON was named the 2010 recipient of the Integritas Vitae Award, Loyola University New Orleans’ highest honor.  The award is presented by Loyola’s board of trustees to an individual who exemplifies the qualities Loyola seeks to instill in its students.  The recipient is chosen for displaying high moral character and selfless service, without expectation of material reward or public recognition, and adhering to the principles of honesty, integrity, justice and the preservation of human dignity.  The Saints won Super Bowl XLIV in the team’s 25th season under Benson’s ownership.  He has been the driving force behind campaigns to secure Super Bowls for New Orleans and stepped forward recently with a new partnership that will sustain the club’s commitment to the state of Louisiana through 2025. 
 
NEW YORK:  The Giants and New York-Presbyterian Hospital have teamed up to increase awareness of the importance of organ donation, a cause close to the heart of several members of the Giants organization.  "As the nation’s largest transplant center, we wanted to work with a premier team that shares our desire for being an advocate for organ donation," says Dr. HERBERT PADRES, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital.  "The Giants franchise is a great hallmark of New York.  We look forward to working with this great organization and extend the gift of life."  With the help of the Giants, the hospital aims to register 100,000 new organ donors.  "We are proud to be working with New York’s top-ranked hospital to rally around organ donation," says MICHAEL STEVENS, senior vice president and chief marketing office of the Giants.  "The New York Giants embody the possibilities of health, fitness and living life to its fullest.  By increasing the awareness and importance of transplant organs, we can help our regional community to achieve this goal." 
 
PHILADELPHIA:  On April 11, the Eagles and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will host the "Huddle Up for Autism" event to benefit the Center for Autism Research, a cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary center at CHOP that coordinates and supports research on autism.  The center’s goals are to identify the cause of autism and to develop effective treatments.  The inaugural "Huddle Up for Autism" Family Fun Day will be held at Lincoln Financial Field.  The free event will include field and locker room tours, arts and crafts, entertainment, games and obstacles courses.  In addition, there will be special appearances by Eagles players, cheerleaders and the team’s mascot SWOOP. 
 
ST. LOUIS:  The Rams’ staff celebrated Black History Month by assisting the Friends of Greenwood Association with beautification and restoration efforts of Greenwood Cemetery, a historical cemetery where as many as 50,000 African-Americans are buried.  Greenwood is a space of more than 32 acres with 15 acres totally overgrown with trees and shrubbery.  The Rams’ staff helped level uneven ground, re-set sunken tombstones, cleaned grave markers, trimmed weeds and picked up trash.  "The Rams’ assistance has opened a new window for us to research," says ETTA DANIELS, the executive director to the Friends of Greenwood Association.  "It’s moving to see people do stuff like this for the cemetery."  The effort was part of the organization’s "staff days of service" program where the club’s staff will do work each month to benefit a different non-profit.  "We’re proud of the great service our staff is providing each month," says MOLLY HIGGINS, the team’s vice president of corporate communications and civic affairs.  "Community involvement is an organizational priority for us."
 
SAN FRANCISCO:  The team recently hosted the 49ers Foundation’s 10th Annual Celebrity Winter Fest in Olympic Valley.  The weekend-long event celebrated football, food and entertainment, while supporting the Bay Area community through the 49ers Foundation, the non-profit community extension of the San Francisco 49ers.  The 49ers Foundation supports development programs for underserved youth that keep them safe, on track and in school.  Team owners DENISE and JOHN YORK, president and CEO JED YORK and head coach MIKE SINGLETARY were among those in attendance, as well as current and former 49ers players.  Along with evening entertainment including live and silent auctions and formal dinners, the weekend included a Chalk Talk presentation by the 49ers coaches and players.  Through the leadership of team owners Denise and John York, the 49ers Foundation has donated more than $4 million over the past four years to non-profits throughout the Bay Area.
 
SEATTLE:  The Seahawks have teamed with The Landing and the city of Renton to hold the first-ever "Seahawks 12K Run at The Landing," which will include a 12K run, a 5K run/walk, a non-competitive half-mile kids run and a block party with free games, activities and entertainment on Sunday, April 11.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the Renton Skyway Boys and Girls Club.  "The Seahawks organization is excited to host the first Seahawks 12K Run at The Landing to provide a great community event that helps encourage an active and healthy lifestyle that fits with our Play 60 program," says MIKE FLOOD, the team’s vice president of community relations and special projects.  "We felt this would be a great community event to get involved with.  In the spirit of the 12th Man, we look forward to seeing our fans and friends come out for this event."  Adds Renton mayor DENIS LAW, "This is a great opportunity to build on the partnerships we have established with both The Landing and the Seattle Seahawks.  This family-focused event will provide an opportunity to introduce a lot of new people to the many exciting changes happening in Renton."
 
TAMPA BAY:  The Buccaneers presented LaVoy Exceptional Center with a "Play 60 Zone," providing a new court cover and athletic equipment for the school’s outdoor recreation center.  The goal is to provide shade and wind resistance for students during their physical education periods.  "We all know about the hot summers here in Tampa, so this will be used a lot," says Buccaneers head coach RAHEEM MORRIS, who represented the team at the ceremony.  LaVoy Exceptional Center provides educational programs and support for students ages three to 22 with a wide range of disabilities, including autism, spectrum disorder, visual impairments, physical handicaps, emotional and behavioral disabilities and significant cognitive disabilities.  "Living a healthy lifestyle, and pushing yourself both mentally and physically have become greater challenges in today’s youth and the Buccaneers continue to be leaders in our community, stressing the importance of those activities," says SUSAN VALDES, the Hillsborough county school board chair. 
 
WASHINGTON:  Members of the team’s front office, including owner DAN SNYDER, head coach MIKE SHANAHAN and general manager BRUCE ALLEN, attended the annual dinner for the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation Leadership Council.  The foundation, the non-profit philanthropic arm of the club, combines the influence and popularity of the Washington Redskins with the resources and assets of Washington area corporations.  Founded by Snyder, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation is guided by its leadership council that consists of CEOs who help shape and define the philanthropic efforts of the Redskins to achieve a measurable impact on youth development in the areas of education, community outreach and health and wellness.  "Once a year we get together," says Snyder, "essentially all the people that help us put together the fundraising, and it’s just so important to our community, especially in today’s economy, for us to continue doing this."

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