Wiggins Joins UTAC Effort, Honors Late Father

candice_utac.jpg

WNBA Minnesota Lynx G Candice Wiggins has joined the fight against HIV/AIDS by partnering with Until There’s A Cure® (UTAC), a national organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds to combat the pandemic.

Wiggins is the daughter of the late Alan Wiggins, the seven-year MLB player that succumbed to complications from AIDS at age 32. Alan Wiggins played for the San Diego Padres (1981-85) and the Baltimore Orioles (1985-87).

Candice Wiggins: “I am so proud to partner with UTAC because raising awareness and finding a cure for the HIV/AIDS virus is my priority. I celebrate the memory of my father and his life fuels my energy and drive.”

The goal of UTAC is to fund prevention education, care services, and vaccine development using The Bracelet, a tool that serves as a bridge to unite people to fight HIV/AIDS as well as to increase awareness, compassion, understanding, and responsibility.

Teamwork: The Lynx dedicated their June 10 game against the Connecticut Sun to Wiggins’ new partnership with UTAC, with the first 5,000 fans in attendance receiving UTAC’s The Bracelet in special Lynx team colors along with a copy of Wiggins’ print PSA. Wiggins will be featured as the cover athlete on the Lynx gameday program and there will be an in-game feature on the Target Center scoreboard display during a timeout that highlights Wiggins’ latest platform.

To support Wiggins’ outreach efforts, Until There’s A Cure has agreed to donate 25 percent of the proceeds from the sale of bracelets that Wiggins generates to the organizations that she will be working with in Minnesota and California. The goal is to raise at least $20,000 through this initiative (Minnesota Lynx).

Dear Fans: In a letter to fans, Wiggins writes, “My father, former major league baseball player Alan Wiggins, died of AIDS when I was 4 years old. His story has had a tremendous impact on my life and I wear The Bracelet not only to honor his memory, but also to do my part to increase awareness, compassion, understanding, and support in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Until There’s A Cure is a national organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds to combat this pandemic” (Minnesota Lynx).

Photo credit: Minnesota Lynx

Wiggins Joins UTAC Effort, Honors Late Father

candice_utac.jpg

WNBA Minnesota Lynx G Candice Wiggins has joined the fight against HIV/AIDS by partnering with Until There’s A Cure® (UTAC), a national organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds to combat the pandemic.

Wiggins is the daughter of the late Alan Wiggins, the seven-year MLB player that succumbed to complications from AIDS at age 32. Alan Wiggins played for the San Diego Padres (1981-85) and the Baltimore Orioles (1985-87).

Candice Wiggins: “I am so proud to partner with UTAC because raising awareness and finding a cure for the HIV/AIDS virus is my priority. I celebrate the memory of my father and his life fuels my energy and drive.”

The goal of UTAC is to fund prevention education, care services, and vaccine development using The Bracelet, a tool that serves as a bridge to unite people to fight HIV/AIDS as well as to increase awareness, compassion, understanding, and responsibility.

Teamwork: The Lynx dedicated their June 10 game against the Connecticut Sun to Wiggins’ new partnership with UTAC, with the first 5,000 fans in attendance receiving UTAC’s The Bracelet in special Lynx team colors along with a copy of Wiggins’ print PSA. Wiggins will be featured as the cover athlete on the Lynx gameday program and there will be an in-game feature on the Target Center scoreboard display during a timeout that highlights Wiggins’ latest platform.

To support Wiggins’ outreach efforts, Until There’s A Cure has agreed to donate 25 percent of the proceeds from the sale of bracelets that Wiggins generates to the organizations that she will be working with in Minnesota and California. The goal is to raise at least $20,000 through this initiative (Minnesota Lynx).

Dear Fans: In a letter to fans, Wiggins writes, “My father, former major league baseball player Alan Wiggins, died of AIDS when I was 4 years old. His story has had a tremendous impact on my life and I wear The Bracelet not only to honor his memory, but also to do my part to increase awareness, compassion, understanding, and support in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Until There’s A Cure is a national organization dedicated to eradicating HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and funds to combat this pandemic” (Minnesota Lynx).

Photo credit: Minnesota Lynx

Activity Coordinators: WNBA Holding its WNBA Cares Week

The WNBA is holding its WNBA Cares Week this week, and teams will be active in their local markets, engaging with fans by hosting a variety of events including, WNBA Fit clinics, Read to Achieve reading rallies, Jr. WNBA clinics, visiting schools and doing much more.

NBA and WNBA Community & Player Programs Senior Vice President Kathy Behrens: “WNBA Cares Week serves as an opportunity to highlight the programs and causes that are important to our teams and players. At the same time it allows our fans to connect with our players over shared community interests as we head into what will be one of the WNBA’s most exciting seasons ever.”

Click Here for a schedule of WNBA Cares Week activities (WNBA).

Women’s Sports Foundation’s Event Rakes in Over a Million

The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) reaped $1.2 million from this year’s The Billies event, which was held April 15 in Beverly Hills. The money will support increased opportunities for girls’ and women’s sports, including the Foundation’s primary program, GoGirlGo!, aimed at getting girls physically active.

WSF’s Sarah Murray noted that Billie Awards were presented to four members of the media “who have done an extraordinary job in their portrayal” of girls’ and women’s sports. Murray: “In an age of continued struggle to see equal and positive representations of women athletes in the media, those contributions are lifeblood to evolution.”

The 2008 Billie Award winners are:

Journalism Category:

  • Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports – Carol & Graf Publishers, Katherine Switzer

Entertainment Category:

  • Chak De! India – Yash Raj Films, Produced by Aditya Chopra

Breakthrough and Innovation Category:

  • BoomBoom-TAP – Under Armour/Advertising Campaign

Outstanding Journalist:

  • Lesley Visser, groundbreaking broadcast journalist, only sportscaster to work on the network broadcasts of the Final Four, Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Triple Crown, Olympic Games, U.S. Open and World Figure Skating Championships

Click Here to see a past post for the list of nominees.

Top Ten: The event also included a rundown of The Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in Women’s Sports for 2007:

  1. Wimbledon announces equal prize money for men and women
  2. Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team stands up against racist statements by Don Imus
  3. Title IX turns 35 years old
  4. Jessica Long becomes the first Paralympic athlete to win the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, given annually by the Amateur Athletic Union since 1930
  5. Pat Summit, Head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee, wins 7th national championship
  6. Fresno State University is court ordered to pay multi-million dollar settlements in Title IX lawsuits
  7. Serena Williams, then ranked 81st in the world, defeats top-ranked Maria Sharapova to win Australian Open
  8. Sweden’s Anja Paerson becomes first skier to win five gold medals in a single world championship
  9. Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy become the first all-woman class to be elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame
  10. Lorena Ochoa wins the Women’s British Open, hosted at St. Andrews – the first time in 500 years that the tournament hosted a major event for women

Exclamation Point: Murray added that the “exclamation point on the show was a high-energy performance” from Elton John (Women’s Sports Foundation, 4/22).

For more information on the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.womenssportsfoundation.org.

Women’s Sports Foundation Names Durkin as CEO

The Women’s Sports Foundation has named Karen Durkin as its new CEO. Most recently the executive vice president of communications and brand strategy at the National Hockey League, Durkin previously spent 10 years at the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

During her tenure at the LPGA, Durkin served as the organization’s key business and communications strategist, a role largely responsible for the development of the LPGA’s “Fans First” business plan and “These Girls Rock” brand platform.

Durkin: “I understand the profound impact sports can have on young girls and am enthusiastic about the opportunity to lead an organization that works every day to positively affect girls and women through sports.”

Durkin, the Foundation’s fourth CEO, succeeds Dr. Donna Lopiano, who resigned from the Foundation last August after a 15-year tenure.

For more information on the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.womenssportsfoundation.org.

Women’s Sports Foundation Releases New Video

Women’s Sports Foundation (0:23)

For more information on the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.womenssportsfoundation.org.

Women’s Sports Foundation Names The Billies Finalists

The Women’s Sports Foundation’s will honor the extraordinary work of the media on the portrayal of girls and women in sports and physical activity on April 15 at The Billies annual awards gala in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The WSF’s Stacy Serrette writes, “In a media culture, there is no more significant barrier to the encouragement of girls and women to participate in sports and physical activity than the lack of portrayal of women in sports and coverage of their achievements.”

The 2008 The Billies finalists are:

Journalism

Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women’s Sports” Carol & Graf Publishers, Kathrine Switzer. The story of Kathrine Switzer who broke through the gender barrier in the marathon and helped introduce women’s marathon into the Olympic Games.

Mamachas” ESPN Deportes. A story about a women’s Peruvian soccer team, the current Peruvian national champions, in a league organized by farming communities. The women play in traditional skirts called polleras and sandals called llanques made out of automobile tires, thin string and nails.

Pregnant Pause” – ESPN, Produced by Lindsay Rovegno and Arty Berko. A story about how colleges and universities respond to the issue of student-athletes becoming pregnant while on scholarship.

Series of Articles Chicago Tribune, Melissa Isaacson

Series of Articles ESPN.com/Kansas City Star, Mechelle Voepel

Entertainment

Chak! De India” Yash Raj Films, Produced by Aditya Chopra. A film about a group of girls who forgot what it was like to play simply for the love of field hockey. The story revolves around a coach’s fight to make the players of Team India overcome their diverse backgrounds and life’s obstacles in order to play and win for their country.

Generation IX” – Produced by Jack and Leslie Hamann. A documentary about women athletes from the 2005 University of Washington’s national champion volleyball team and how they benefited from Title IX. Players and coaches share how issues like race, gender roles and the risk of injury add richness and depth to both modern and historical discussions about athletic equity.

Women in American Horse Racing” – American Storyboard, Produced by John Ronan and Sandra Ronan. From jockeys to grooms and from outriders to executives, this documentary shows how talented women are shaping the horse racing industry.

Breakthrough & Innovation

Women’s Soccer Team The Greatest Team Never Heard Of” – Nike, Advertising Campaign. An ad campaign that introduces women’s soccer’s next greats. The campaign illustrates the dedication of the team and helps the nation further understand a team they would otherwise know next to nothing about. It aims to bring attention to a sport that’s always been an underdog in America.

Boom Boom Tap” – UnderAmour – Advertising campaign. An ad campaign that promotes female team sports. “Boom Boom Tap” is the rhythm that brings a team together and evokes the noise made by girls as they break from a pre-game huddle.

GKA” Fuel TV – Television Series. A series dedicated to women’s participation in action sports. The show combines lifestyle elements, such as music and entertainment, with the best female riding on the planet, mixing in trick tips and athlete profiles.

“Female Snowboarding” Quicksilver/Roxy. A print advertising campaign displaying female snowboarders in their element performing tricks.

The 2007 event raised $1.5 million dollars (Women’s Sports Foundation).

For more information on The Billies and the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.womenssportsfoundation.org.

Women’s Sports Foundation Continues Making An Impact

The Women’s Sports Foundation aims to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and fitness participation.

For more information on the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.womenssportsfoundation.org.

Girls Are Champions Debuts First Magazine Show

Girls Are Champions is a new sports magazine show for girls. An effort of Athletic Girl Productions, the mission is to educate and empower girls through sports while creating a positive presence for girls in the media.

The first magazine show, shot in Fall 2007, discusses Leadership:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

For more information on Girls Are Champions, please visit www.girlsarechampions.org.

Nancy Kerrigan Helps Fight Blindness

Nancy Kerrigan Featured in a PSA for the Foundation Fighting Blindness

Earlier this year, Olympic Silver Medal-winning figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was named a National Spokesperson for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) as a result of her continuous commitment to optic research and awareness.

Kerrigan: “I’m thrilled about being a spokesperson for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, because of their strong commitment to finding cures for blindness. My mother is blind, and it has been difficult for her to fully appreciate and enjoy my success, because of her limited vision. The Foundation is bringing real hope to people like my mom and their families.”

This fall, the FFB will be prominently promoted as the official charity of Nancy Kerrigan’s World of Skating TV series, which will run from November 20, 2007 through May 10, 2008, and on other Nancy Kerrigan national TV broadcasts.

[Read more…]

Lopiano Steps Down as CEO of WSF

Donna Lopiano has resigned her position as CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation recently. Lopiano, who has been with the organization since 1992, will leave the organization this summer.

During her tenure at the Women’s Sports Foundation, she:

  • Built an internationally respected education, research and public policy organization,
  • Oversaw the development of model education programs and award-winning curricula distributed nationwide,
  • Secured funds that enabled the Women’s Sports Foundation to award more than $14 million in cash grants and free education curricula that affected the lives of one million girls and women, and
  • Expanded the Women’s Sports Foundation endowment to $4 million.

Lopiano came to the Women’s Sports Foundation as one of the nation’s leading experts on Title IX and became recognized as one of the “Top Most Powerful Women in Sports” by Fox Sports and one of the “100 Most Influential People in Sports” by The Sporting News.

Lopiano, who began her career in college sports, said when announcing her resignation to her staff: “Taking diamonds in the rough and turning them into gems is a truly remarkable experience and very few individuals have the opportunity to do this once, let alone twice. I have been very fortunate through my experiences at the University of Texas-Austin and the Women’s Sports Foundation to create two jewels that will forever shine. I have one more chance for the hat trick and am eager to devote my time and energy to the next treasure about which I am passionate.”

The Women’s Sports Foundation Board of Trustees has launched a nationwide search for a new CEO. In the interim, the leadership of the Women’s Sports Foundation will be shared by longtime Women’s Sports Foundation senior staff members Tuti Scott, Chief External Relations Officer, and Dr. Marjorie Snyder, Chief Program & Planning Officer (from a Women’s Sports Foundation press release).

Kwan Paved the Way for Ripken in China

While new special envoy Cal Ripken Jr. will first visit China later this year, his sports ambassador colleague, figure skater Michelle Kwan, made her first visit to China as well. In January 2007, Kwan spent several days in the world’s most-populated country. Ripken and Kwan are the only athletes to be named American Public Diplomacy Envoys by the Bush Administration.

As we wait for Ripken’s visit to China to be written about, Kwan has been there done that, per se. The following information was gained from U.S. Department of State press releases from this past January:

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes, Kwan “will visit Beijing (Jan. 17-21) and Guangzhou (Jan. 21-23) and Hong Kong (Jan. 23-24, U/S Hughes; Jan. 23-25, Ms. Kwan). ”

While Kwan’s visit was eventful, let’s recap her first-day activities on January 18:

Dandelion School: For her first stop on her tour, Kwan visited the the Dandelion School in southwest Beijing. The Dandelion School educates 380 junior high school students “who are the children of migrant workers.” The school is supported “by the dedicated efforts of the Dandelion Project, a grass-roots volunteer organization of women professionals in Beijing who provide support and assistance to women and children in need.”

The school visit “attracted wide media attention.” Kwan spoke to students, faculty and volunteers and “delivered a positive message about the value of having a dream and then working hard to achieve that dream.” She reminded students that they “should also turn to their teachers, family and friends when they need extra help in reaching their goals.”

Additionally, on behalf of the Department of State, Kwan “presented the school with a donation of school supplies and sports equipment and also presented DVDs donated by her corporate sponsor, Walt Disney.” View Photos From the Dandelion School Visit

Renmin School: Kwan also visited the “elite” Renmin University-affiliated Middle School. Kwan met “with a dozen students to share her experiences as a figure skater and what it means to represent her country” in this new role. Kwan and the students “discussed the importance of hard work and following one’s dreams.” Kwan’s “persistence and optimism, coupled with her Chinese heritage, make her a particularly effective Ambassador for the United States.”

Evening Muse: The U.S. Ambassador to China, Clark Randt, Jr. opened his home on to “influential Chinese leaders from the arts and entertainment, and business and sciences to honor” Kwan. Guests included Mr. Cui Jian, the “Father of Rock & Roll in China,” Chinese Olympic champion speed skater Ms. Wang Meng, and rising Chinese singing sensation Ms. Zhang Lingying, who “entertained guests with her soulful rendition” of Minnie Riperton’s “Lov’n You.”

Two Chinese corporate women leaders remarked how Kwan’s “record of achievement on the ice and now as a shining example of American culture is a true inspiration for them as young business leaders in China.”

Kwan also met “many of China’s most influential opinion shapers.”

For more information on Kwan’s visit to China, please visit china.embassy.gov.

Round Two: From Hong Kong, Kwan was scheduled to visit the Philippines (Jan 24-27), “where she will meet with President Arroyo and other senior government officials, students, Filipino veterans, and media representatives.” She will also visit with U.S. representatives “working in country to discuss, observe, and review our active public outreach, assistance, and cooperative programs with our Philippine counterparts.”