Rays Host Signing to Benefit Tampa Woman

Bill Chastain of MLB.com offers a quick hit on yesterday’s autograph signing fundraiser for a young Tampa woman with cancer that raised $15,950 including $5,000 by the Tampa Bay Rays, who bought 18 dozen signed balls with a special cancer-fighting hologram that will be donated to charity.

David Price, Matt Garza, B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria were among the Rays players who signed (MLB.com, 3/14).

Premier League Goes (RED) for AIDS Campaign

The Premier League has gone (RED) this weekend to help raise funds for the “Lace Up. Save Lives” AIDS charity campaign.

A specially-designed Nike ball is being used in all matches from Saturday to Monday. Meanwhile, players Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Fernando Torres and other stars will also wear Nike (RED) laces in their shoes during the matches to show their support for the campaign.

The Nike (RED) laces are also available for purchase, with 100% of the profits split equally between two good causes; Half of the money will go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria which funds AIDS programs that provide medicine, treatment and services for those living with HIV. The remainder will fund football-based community initiatives which deliver education and understanding around HIV/AIDS prevention.

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore: “A red ball and red laces are simple ideas, but sometimes those are the best – the hope is that the profile given through this and the money raised through ‘Lace Up, Save Lives’ will provide significant impetus and funding to the Global Fund’s activities to aid the prevention of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

“Football has a particular resonance in Africa, especially the Barclays Premier League, and our support for this campaign is part of our wider commitment to coaching, education and other good cause investment right across the continent” (Premier League).

Sampras, Agassi Feud at Hit for Haiti

Over on Fanhouse, Greg Couch reports that Tennis “tried to show that it had a heart Friday night, that it’s not all about self-absorbed, entitled athletes, as its image often says.” But while the sold out crowd of 16,000 for the Hit for Haiti event helped raised more than $1M, the charity event was marred by two of its biggest stars.

Couch points out “a quarter of a million people dead in Haiti, and Sampras and Agassi took a charity event to raise money for earthquake victims and turned it into a night about themselves and their stupid bickering over Agassi calling Sampras a bad tipper.”

Sampras and Agassi “humiliated themselves, humiliated tennis.” Couch captures the exchange on Fanhouse.com.

UMPS CARE Auction Back for Second Year

The UMPS CARE online auction has returned for a second year. All proceeds from the auction go toward the organization’s youth charity programs, but especially to support the organization’s Blue Crew ticketing program, which provides an opportunity for at-risk children and children who are waiting to be adopted to attend Major League game. Click here to get in on the auction.

“We raise the money to be able to purchase where we need to purchase,” UMPS CARE Executive Director Samuel Dearth said. “When we started the program, we said we’re not just going to be a ticket organization. If you are a 10-year-old boy or girl, and you’re in that environment, you’ll see that there are parents with their kids and those kids are getting everything.”

MLB.com’s Bailey Stephens reports that last year’s auction raised more than $20,000, but noted that he the auction was held in conjunction with the organization’s golf classic. This year, the auction is being held separately to coincide with Spring Training.

While UMPS CARE’s Blue Crew ticket program is able to provide a memorable day of baseball for the kids, Dearth told Stephens that “it can also serve to reinforce the efforts of the recruiters’ main goals: to find the children permanent homes.”

Dearth: “In order for a boy or young boy to be adopted, [the recruiter has] to have the cooperation and trust of the child. This gives them an opportunity to share with their kids in their care to strengthen that relationship. The baseball experience is a fun experience. But what we hear from ‘Wendy’s wonderful kids’ recruiters is nothing but positive feedback, because it is just an opportunity for the kids to get down on the field, do something unique, make those kids feel special” (Bailey Stephens, MLB.com, 3/12/09).

NASCAR Day Now Includes Community Projects

The NASCAR Foundation announced that five community service projects that will take place across the country during NASCAR Day on May 21.

NASCAR Day is an annual charitable celebration of the NASCAR spirit that enables fans and corporate partners to join together to make a difference in the lives of children. Since it began in 2004, NASCAR Day has raised nearly $8 million for charity.

This year marks the first time that the Foundation has taken on multiple national service projects of this magnitude, creating awareness for children’s causes through the NASCAR Day platform.

Fans can help support these initiatives by making a $5 donation for the 2010 NASCAR Day collectible lapel pin or by registering to volunteer at one of the service projects.

Details of “The Big Five” projects: [Read more…]

Sports That Serve Meeting Needs of Orphans

“There are many Calcuttas in the world,” said Mother Teresa. “Find your Calcutta.” This is one of the many great lessons we can take from Mother Teresa. It’s a call on all of us to find, and pursue, a service we are each passionate about.

Rob Shields definitely found his Calcutta. Perhaps it’s ironic that this came after spending eight months as the athletic director at Mother Teresa’s HIV/AIDS orphanage in Ethiopia. That experience working with 500 orphans was the catalyst for Shields’ Sports That Serve. The organization which launched in fall of 2008, aims to create an avenue of athletics to help meet the needs of orphan children in Ethopia, as well underserved children in the U.S. Get all the group’s info at www.sportsthatserve.org.

Friendly Wagers: Oxfam Could Reap Rewards

Oxfam International, an NGO from three continents working worldwide to fight poverty and injustice, has some incentive to watch Wimbledon this year … and cheer for Roger Federer. Furthermore, the organization wins if Andy Roddick can win 10 grand slam singles titles before 2020.

Oxfam was left with the outstanding wagers placed by Nicholas Newlife, who died in February and left his estate – including the outstanding sports wagers – to the humanitarian organization. In addition to the Federer and Roddick wagers, there were other undisclosed by the UK’s Mirror. But the Mirror’s Euan Stretch noted that “if they all win, Oxfam said the cash could provide 350,000 people with safe water.”

NASCAR’s Skinner Mixes a Hoe Down with Golf

NASCAR driver Mike Skinner is hosting his 4th Annual Toyota Skinner Round Up for Charity this Thursday and Friday in Daytona. The two day event kicks off with a Hoe Dash Bash on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Then on Friday, the party heads to Spruce Creek Country Club for a charity golf tournament. Isn’t charity great? How else can you throw an event touting a hoe down and golf?

In its first three years, the event has raised over $500,000 for various Volusia County charities. This year’s charities include Council on Aging, Greyhound Pets of America, Halifax Health Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank and Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare. Skinner usually brings along some of his friends to help out. This year, celebrities who will be participating include Nashville recording artist Stacy Mitchhart and American Idol’s Bo Bice. NASCAR stars Michael Waltrip, Ron Hornaday, Tommy Baldwin, Rick Crawford, and Steve Park will also be on hand, as will WSOP pro Tristan Wade.

Signing Day: Tebow Autographs Fetch $160 Each

In an effort to raised some money for his newly-formed Tim Tebow Foundation, former Gators standout Tim Tebow was back in Jacksonville this weekend in what was billed as his first ever public signing. A porition of the proceeds were going to the foundation. I hope it was a good portion, too. Fans shelled out $75 for a photograph with the NFL prospect. Yes, that’s just for a photograph. You want an autograph? That ran for $160.

Of course, the Florida Times-Union was there to cover the event, and Michael Dirocco was able to grab a quote from Tebow.

Tebow: “It’s an honor to have people want to want you and want to have your autograph and want to be around you,” Tebow said. “That’s special to have an opportunity to sign for people, but it’s more special to be able to do things like we’re doing and being able to really just brighten kids’ days in really their darkest hour of need, which is a lot of what my foundation is about. … I’m just so excited that I have the opportunity to do this and just make a difference in kids’ lives.”

Quote of the Day: “I like to be in the top 10 because I’m afraid the signature gets a little worse as you get to No. 300” -Tebow fan Lupe Reyes, who arrived over six hours before the signing began (Michael Dirocco, Florida Times-Union, 3/7).

British Team Donates Goods to Vancouver Kids

Thanks to the Britsh Olympic Association, MoreSports, a Vancouver non-profit that organizes sports programs for disadvantaged inner-city youth, scored gold of their own during this year’s Winter Games. The Vancouver Sun’s Jeff Lee reported that the Brits donated “everything from flat-screen televisions to bar fridges to irons and chairs” to MoreSports.

British Olympic Association CEO Andy Hunt issued a statement saying, “As an organization responsible for the development of the Olympic Movement, it is particularly rewarding to be able to support a project such as MoreSports, which aims to spread the Olympic spirit through sport, developing mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. It’s great to give something back to the people of Vancouver after staging such a superb Games.”

The donation of about 500 items included 28 three-week-old flat-screen TVs, 25 bar fridges, 42 irons, chairs, office furniture, printers, scanners, and other items. Woldring noted that “some of the donated material will be kept but most will be auctioned off” (Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, 3/6).

NASCAR: Several Cars Go Pink for Breast Cancer

55919256The October NASCAR weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has had a touch of pink for years. The primetime event is a perfect opportunity for teams, drivers and sponsors to show their support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tomorrow night’s Sprint Cup Series race will have Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Elliott Sadler and Bill Elliott wheel pink-themed cars. During tonight’s Nationwide Series race, the entire Braun Racing stable of three cars will be pinked out. The fans can even get in on the cause with tomorrow morning’s Track Walk.

The Pink M&M: M&M’s, which has a history of partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has once again taken that partnership to the racetrack. During tomorrow night’s Sprint Cup Series NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 M&M’s Toyota of Kyle Busch will feature a nice pink paint scheme (M&M’s).

NAPA Goes Pink: Michael Waltrip’s No. 55 NAPA Toyota will sport a touch of pink during the Saturday’s event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Waltrip’s sponsor, NAPA, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have teamed up to raise $250,000 for the important cause. During the month of October, consumers who spend $25 or more at participating NAPA Auto Parts Stores or NAPA AutoCare Centers will receive a free NAPA/Susan G. Komen for the Cure travel mug (Michael Waltrip Racing). [Read more…]

Kevin Wall to Lead World Cup Kickoff Event

20 Centres for 2010

20 Centres for 2010

The BBC reported that a major chartiy concert has been announced to kick off the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The event will take place June 10 at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The show is being staged by Kevin Wall, who produced the Live 8 and Live Earth events. The concert will be broadcast around the world with the line-up and ticket details to be announced in January. The BBC added that there are “rumours that the Spice Girls would re-unite one last time for the concert.”

The concert will raise money for the World Cup’s official charity, 20 Centres for 2010. The organization hopes to build twenty Football for Hope Centres for public health, education and football across Africa (BBC News, 10/16).