GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
– The Grand Rapids Griffins’ community programs and charitable efforts during the 2009-10 American Hockey League season generated nearly $330,000 for various schools, organizations and nonprofits throughout West Michigan, accounting for a significant portion of the $3 million total raised by the AHL’s 29 teams for charitable causes this year.
The Griffins Youth Foundation was the top beneficiary of the team’s endeavors, receiving approximately $130,000 through the annual golf classic ($85,000), the Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle ($17,000) and a game-worn jersey auction on Jan. 30 ($14,600), plus fundraisers such as the fifth annual Sled Wings vs. Griffins sled hockey game on Jan. 12 and the season-long raffle of the Griffins/Van Andel Arena playhouse.
Several of the Griffins’ traditional programs generated significant funds for their appointed charities, including:
• Throw for Dough
– $11,200 for sponsoring organizations;
• Growing With the Griffins
– $22,000 benefiting nine local youth hockey organizations;
• Put A Lid On It
– $13,400 in ticket donations and $3,000 to Greater Grand Rapids Safe Kids for the purchase of bike helmets for donation to both underprivileged kids and participants in the 2009 Grand Cycling Classic kids race;
• Charitable Goals
– $2,500 from Griffins sponsors for various charities as a result of goals scored by Griffins players;
• Cole’s Kids
– $3,500 in tickets donated to local youth.
Tip-A-Griffin returned for a sixth overall season, as all Griffins players spent the evening of Nov. 16 serving food at seven Grand Rapids-area Applebee’s locations to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. Tips and auction proceeds from the three-hour event amounted to $7,500. Meanwhile, the Griffins raised $2,000 for D.A. Blodgett for Children and St. John’s Home during the inaugural Pumping Gas fundraiser, held at three J & H Family Store/Marathon locations on March 9.
On Oct. 12, the Griffins hosted their second-annual “Pups and Pucks” Walk-A-Thon at Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary in Lake Odessa, in partnership with the Griffins Booster Club. Prior to a BBQ dinner with live music, hayrides and live auction, players and coaches walked rescued dogs for pledges. The event raised $12,000 for the Midwest’s largest no-kill shelter.
Also during the 2009-10 season, the Griffins Give-Back program, in conjunction with Michigan Works, donated tickets to hundreds of local unemployed workers and their families for two games. Combined with the Griffins’ Reading Goals program, which was open to participation by all schools in the Kent and Ottawa Area Intermediate School Districts, the team donated just over 8,000 tickets.
The Griffins also assisted several hundred schools and organizations during the course of the season through donations of memorabilia and personal appearances by Griffins players, staff, and Griff and Finn, the team mascots.
Over the last eight seasons, the Griffins’ charitable activities have helped generate more than $2.5 million for various causes and organizations in West Michigan.