Owner and CEO Jim Irsay Pledges a $1 Donation for Every Fan in Attendance This Weekend
INDIANAPOLIS – During a time when many charitable organizations are seeing community needs rise and donation levels decrease, Indianapolis Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay is making a pledge to help. For every fan in attendance at the Colts versus Patriots game this Sunday, November 15, Irsay will donate $1 to United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) to help them provide services and programs to address today's needs and reduce tomorrow's. Once Sunday's attendance has been finalized, the Colts will present a check to UWCI CEO Ellen Annala on the field at the end of the third quarter.
"With needs so great because of long-term unemployment, extra gifts like this generous one from our long-standing Colts partners are especially meaningful," said Ellen K. Annala, president and CEO of UWCI.
For more than 35 years, the NFL and the United Way have been partners in caring. This partnership has touched millions of lives over the years and strengthened communities across the country. Locally, the Colts, United Way of Central Indiana and several of their agencies have continued this effort to make a difference by teaming up for numerous initiatives over the years.
"The Indianapolis Colts are committed to supporting United Way of Central Indiana and their efforts to empower and enrich Hoosier lives each and every day," said Jim Irsay, owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts. "Through this pledge, we hope to help UWCI continue their legacy of giving that began nearly a century ago."
Some of the signature programs and events that the Colts and UWCI have partnered on in recent years include:
- Cold Feet, Warm Shoes and Hats**
**An annual event made possible through a partnership between the Colts, UWCI and Hat World. In just one day, these organizations help outfit an entire IPS school with new shoes, hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts.
- **Colts player involvement
**In 2009, Colts LB Gary Brackett is serving as a local spokesperson for United Way's LIVE UNITED campaign. Brackett participated in a public awareness campaign which included billboard ads, radio spots and more designed to encourage Hoosiers to give back to their communities.
- **Early Readers Club
**This program provides books to children ages infant through 6 years old and is part of UWCI's Success by Six initiative. The Colts donate $10,000 annually
- **Gameday Collection
**Each year, the Colts host a pre-game collection with all proceeds benefiting UWCI.
- **Hometown Huddle
**An annual event designed to engage Colts players and United Way agencies in strengthening their community. In 2009, Colts Linebacker Gary Brackett helped open a newly renovated fitness center at the Keenan-Stahl Boys and Girls Club.
- In-kind donations
Every year, the Colts donate autographed merchandise and other memorabilia for United Way campaigns and fundraisers across Indiana.
Through this program, UWCI provides one-on-one tutoring for fourth and fifth grade IPS students who are reading below their grade level. In September, the Colts provided limited edition duffel bags for the first 400 volunteers who signed up to be ReadUP tutors. Colts players also visited with tutors and students at IPS School 56 on November 3.
- United Christmas Service
For the past several years, Colts players have supported UWCI's United Christmas Service to provide holiday gifts to children and families in need.
Individuals who would like to join the Colts and Irsay in their efforts to support United Way of Central Indiana can make a donation online at LiveUnitedGiveUnited.org.
United Way of Central Indiana
Serving six Central Indiana counties, United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI) helps sustain vital human services by working exclusively with proven human service agencies that direct life-changing opportunities. UWCI also helps reduce the needs of future generations by helping ensure that kids enter school ready to learn and graduate ready to earn.