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Bringing Smiles to the Bay Area
When football legend Mike Alstott and his wife, Nicole, decided to organize the Mike Alstott Family Foundation, it was with a specific mission in mind: to uplift the hearts, minds, and spirits of children and families on their way to reaching full potential. They accomplish this mission through various events, assistance programs, and celebrations. “We approach each and every situation with that mission in mind,” explained Mr. Rich Clements, Executive Director of the foundation. “We try our best to accomplish it.”
Mike and Nicole have always been very giving, active members of the Tampa Bay community – since the time Mike was drafted by the Buccaneers in 1996. But they decided in 2007 to focus their work through a family foundation. In an interview with Gulf Coast Family, Rich Clements told us that, in part, the decision was an effort to have better control and filter on their community impact. “Instead of lending their time and names to various community events, they wanted to bring it ‘in house’ so to speak, to better organize their efforts.” Mike and Nichole’s parenting priorities impacted the decision as well. They consider the foundation to be an important step toward beginning a legacy for their own children. They wanted to give their family opportunity “to get involved in events – to show them how fortunate they have been.”
And what a legacy it is! The entire Alstott family volunteers and works together with partnering organizations as they reach out to fulfill their mission. Oh, how many caring and creative ways the foundation has found to uplift the hearts, minds, and spirits of children and families on their way to reaching full potential!
Here are a few of their recent events:
The Back-to-School Event
Recently the foundation held its fourth annual “Back to School” event – an effort to prepare children for a good year at school. “Kids from the Sallie House and Children’s Village, both programs of the Salvation Army, were able to pick out a pair of shoes, a backpack, and a package of socks of their choice,” Mr. Clements informed Gulf Coast Family. “The Sports Authority Store was gracious to open an hour early just for us.”
The entire Alstott family was on hand to help. They greeted the kids at the door, making them feel welcome and giving directions. The family continued to help the children – measuring feet for sizes, helping some to find that perfect shoe, and locating back packs that were just right for each child. “We truly believe the child’s attitude plays an important part in the educational process; and if we can play a small part in starting these children off on the right foot at the beginning of the school year, then they are that much closer to being successful.” With help from the foundation, children who may have had to start school without a good pair of shoes or backpack were uplifted on their way to reaching full potential!
End-of-Summer Bowling Party
Athletes from Special Olympics were treated first to a pizza lunch and then to a fun time of bowling. Once again, the entire Alstott family was on hand. Mike and Nicole, along with their children, enjoyed bowling with the guests and were able to assist when needed. “We wrapped up the afternoon with ice cream bars, goodie bags and awards. It was such a great event from top to bottom. Being around so many wonderful athletes was inspiring to all of us,” remarked Rich Clements. Surely the athletes experienced their own inspiration as well – bowling with a Pro-Bowl halfback such as Mike Alstott!
What’s coming up in the future?
Ronald McDonald House and SPFR Thanksgiving Dinners
Dinners for the Ronald McDonald House and the St. Petersburg Fire Department are annual fall events. Firefighters working on Thanksgiving will have the opportunity to greet the Alstott family when they deliver a complete Thanksgiving dinner a few days before the holiday.
The firefighters really appreciate the event. “It really is a huge benefit to us,” said Lt. Brett Ciskoski. “We are on duty, and a lot of stores are closed. It allows the guys to eat a good meal while they’re away from their families, and it really does benefit us.”
The thanks goes both ways. “It’s pretty much appreciation for what they do,” Alstott said. “Obviously it’s a difficult task for them to risk their lives every day to keep us safe. Plus, they’re having to do it on a day where they’re supposed to be around their friends and families, so we’re just giving our appreciation to them.”
The Thanksgiving meal – a gift that says “Thank you” and “We care about you” – is also an annual event for people staying at the Ronald McDonald house, people who must be away from home on the holiday.
According to Mr. Clements, there will be fall events surrounding the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg and an event with Big Brothers / Big Sisters, as well as the usual visits to All Children’s Hospital. The foundation is also looking into some fundraisers for this fall.
“We are a public charity, so we primarily rely on financial support from our fundraisers and individuals in order for us to keep our programs up and running,” explained Rich Clements. The foundation appreciates the partnerships they have with several retail stores and restaurants. “They have held promotions and events that benefit us. We are very grateful for the support our community has shown us since our inception.”
Positive feedback pours in from all of the foundation’s events and is evidence of the success they enjoy; yet, as Rich contemplated, “Some things just can’t be measured. How can you put a value on putting a smile on peoples’ faces?”
The Mike Alstott Family Foundation hopes to continue the increase in programs and community support. “We’re trying to build our foundation with the future in mind; we don’t want to be a flash in the pan.” And while they don’t feel a need to grow so fast as to require pulling back just to gain control, they do hope that the legacy will continue – that Mike and Nicole’s children and grandchildren will continue the work of the foundation.
“It is truly in the hearts of the whole family to give,” Mr. Clements proclaimed. “It’s in their make-up. Each and every event drives them to the next event and drives them to create more events so they, as a family, can grow their impact on the community.”
How can you help?
If you would like to participate in the mission of the Mike Alstott family, you can donate through their website (mikealstottfamilyfoundation.org) or by mail at:
The Mike Alstott Family Foundation
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