The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation announced today the donation of a record-setting total of $1,050,000 awarded to local charitable and youth hockey organizations for the current grant cycle, eclipsing last year’s previous record-setting grant total of $850,000 and topping the $1 million mark for the first time. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has invested more than $8.1 million in central Ohio to support youth health and wellness initiatives.
In keeping with the goal to help central Ohio kids get healthy, play safely and stay active, the Blue Jackets Foundation also announced a $400,000 grant commitment to the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department for the construction and installation of eight Blue Jackets-themed playgrounds to be completed over the next four years, starting with playgrounds in the Linden and Hilltop neighborhoods this year.
During an announcement event outside Nationwide Arena earlier this afternoon, City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department Director Tony Collins added that the Recreation and Parks Department will match the Blue Jackets Foundation’s commitment to bring the collective community investment to $800,000.
“Our founder, John H. McConnell, wanted us to seek impactful ways to give back to the community and consider the role that we can play in addressing needs in the city,” said Kathryn Dobbs, Columbus Blue Jackets Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director, Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. “Given that unstructured play and physical activity is so important in fostering youth health and wellness, we’re thrilled to help the City toward its goal of having a playground and park within a half mile walk of every home.”
“The City of Columbus is committed to ensuring our children are born healthy and have every opportunity to remain fit and active as they grow up. The Columbus Blue Jackets’ leadership, coupled with our Recreation and Parks Department, to bring playgrounds to the neighborhoods most in need is a perfect example of public and private entities working together to make tangible differences in the lives of our residents,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.
In addition to the playground project, the Foundation also announced grants that were awarded to 25 other central Ohio nonprofit organizations. Grant recipients that support pediatric cancer programs include Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, Flying Horse Farms, Cancer Support Community of Central Ohio, Make-A-Wish Ohio Kentucky and Indiana, A Kid Again and Flashes of Hope.
Grant partners that serve health and safety initiatives include After-School All-Stars Ohio, KidSMILES Pediatric Dental Clinic, Gliding Stars of Findlay, and Columbus Collegiate Academy. Reading, literacy and education partners are the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation, the YMCA of Central Ohio, and Junior Achievement of Central Ohio.
Furthering the commitment to grow youth and amateur hockey and remove barriers to playing the game, the Foundation has awarded grants to 10 local hockey associations, the YMCA of Central Ohio and Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
As the charitable arm of the National Hockey League club, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation leverages its unique resources – players, coaches, staff and fans – to partner with and invest in central Ohio charities. For more information, visit www.BlueJacketsFoundation.org.