GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins’ community programs and charitable efforts during the 2007-08 American Hockey League season generated $306,008 for various schools, organizations and nonprofits throughout West Michigan.
The Griffins Youth Foundation was the primary beneficiary of the team’s endeavors, receiving $144,500. These funds were garnered primarily through the 13th annual golf classic ($92,500), the sixth annual Great Skate at Rosa Parks Circle ($15,000), and auctions of autographed game-issued Detroit Red Wings jerseys ($12,350) and the stylistic ‘G’ crest jerseys worn by the Griffins on Feb. 16 ($12,225).
In addition to these events, the foundation held its third annual Sled Wings vs. Griffins sled hockey game on Jan. 22, which raised $2,500 for the Sled Wings program for physically challenged youth. Other funds were raised for the foundation through Griffins game-night promotions, while several traditional programs garnered significant funds for their appointed charities, including:
• Throw for Dough - $48,786 for sponsoring organizations;
• Growing With the Griffins - $19,000 benefiting nine local youth hockey organizations;
• Hockey for the Heart - $15,000 donated by Huntington Bank, Colburn Hundley and Fox Motors to the American Heart Association;
• Put A Lid On It - $8,000 in ticket donations and $3,000 to Greater Grand Rapids Safe Kids/Lakeshore Safe Kids for the purchase of bike helmets for needy kids;
• Saver of the Game - $4,000 donated by Chemical Bank to Home Repair Services and Inner City Christian Foundation;
• Fifth Annual Tip-A-Griffin at O’Charley’s - $2,500 for Change a Child’s Life.
The Griffins’ Oct. 28 game against Peoria was billed as “Pink at the Rink,” a breast cancer awareness benefit for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grand Rapids. All Griffins players wore pink ribbons on their helmets and pink laces in their skates, while several used pink tape on their sticks. A variety of auctions and fundraisers on the night generated nearly $2,000 for the charity.
For five Griffins players, scoring goals signified not just another tally on the scoreboard, but also a donation to charity through the Griffins’ Charitable Goals program. A total of $7,225 was raised for numerous charities, as Mark Hartigan and Davenport University paced the program with a $2,875 donation to the Griffins Youth Foundation, while leading goal scorer Carl Corazzini and The Omelette Shoppe donated $2,400 to Special Olympics.
Through the Griffins’ Reading Goals program, students throughout Kent and Ottawa counties and child patrons of the Grand Rapids Public Library and Kent District Library earned a total of 12,591 free Griffins tickets by completing three hours of reading apiece.
In addition, more than $20,000 was raised by and for youth hockey teams, community organizations, schools and charities through ticket fundraising and ticket donations, and the Griffins assisted several hundred schools and organizations during the course of the season through donations of memorabilia and personal appearances by Griffins players, staff and the team’s mascots, Griff and Finn.
Over the last six seasons, the Griffins’ charitable activities have helped generate nearly $1.8 million for causes and organizations in West Michigan.