Club gives back $350,000 in funds, resources to Portland community during first MLS season
PORTLAND, Ore. – Building upon their tradition of giving back, Portland Timbers players, staff and management again made a positive impact on the community in 2011 by donating funds to local nonprofits and lending significant time, energy and resources, totaling $350,000 in contributions to philanthropic programs.
In 2011, the Timbers launched a new community investment platform, “Stand Together,” to further the club’s outreach in the greater-Portland area. “Stand Together” represents the unique relationship between the Timbers and their fans and signifies the club’s strong commitment to supporting and standing by the community both on and off the field.
The Timbers’ considerable outreach efforts, which included the establishment of new community programs and partners, were highlighted by a successful and rewarding year of giving by the Portland Timbers Community Fund (PTCF). Supported by community fund founding partners Alaska Airlines, JELD-WEN Windows & Doors, Burgerville and PGE, the PTCF donated $100,000 in grants to 23 local, youth-focused nonprofit organizations.
In partnership with the City of Portland and Portland Parks and Recreation, the Timbers generously donated $50,000 towards field-related projects at Portland’s Chapman School and James John Elementary as well as Concordia University as part of the club’s field-grants program.
For a third year, the Timbers received the Portland Business Journal’s award for Exceptional Service to the Community in 2011.
“It’s one of the charter missions of this team, to have an impact in the community,” said Timbers President Merritt Paulson. “I would put our Stand Together program out there as a model for pro sports philanthropy. Community outreach is fundamental to who we are and what we do.”
Through Stand Together, the Timbers worked with new community pillar partners Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest, Friends of Trees and Portland YouthBuilders on a number of special projects in the community and helped the three organizations raise a total of $50,000 in 2011.
The Timbers and Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest developed and implemented Sports Buddies, a new one-to-one mentoring program for at-risk youth with an emphasis on sports. In its first year, the program brought together over 100 matches, providing local youths opportunities to develop life-changing relationships.
The Timbers teamed up with Friends of Trees to plant over 100 trees in the greater-Portland area during the year, assisting in the nonprofit’s mission to bring people together to plant and care for city trees and green spaces. Along with JELD-WEN, the Timbers and Friends of Trees created the “Score a Goal, Plant a Tree” program, which saw a tree planted for each of the 40 goals scored by the Timbers during their inaugural MLS season in 2011.
In a collective effort with D.R. Horton and MLS W.O.R.K.S., Timbers players and staff assisted Portland YouthBuilders (PYB) in the construction of a new home in Northeast Portland. PYB offers at-risk young adults vocational and leadership training, and the Timbers joined the students for a day in August to help with the project and see those skills in action. Over the holidays, the Timbers and adidas joined forces to provide PYB students and their children over 100 gifts gathered by Timbers employees and donated by adidas.
Aside from monetary contributions, the Timbers provided over $45,000 in donations and other resources to local programs and organizations across the Portland metro area throughout the season.
In what has become an annual tradition for the club, the Timbers once again offered their game-worn jerseys to help raise money for a special cause. During the season, the Timbers helped raise $5,000 for Mercy Corps and its sport and social change initiatives through a jersey auction in recognition of the International Day of Peace in September, an auction of game-worn boots donated by Timbers players and by partnering on the second-annual Portland Barefoot 3v3 Soccer Jamboree in May.
Additionally, the Timbers helped generate funds and awareness for two special causes through in-game promotions at JELD-WEN Field. Alaska Airlines donated over 800,000 airline miles to the Children’s Cancer Association through “Corner Kicks for Kids.” FLIR awarded $25,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project, giving $250 for each save made by a Timbers goalkeeper through the “Saves for Soldiers” promotion.
The Timbers continued their support of Schoolhouse Supplies in 2011 through its “Tools for Schools” program and helped welcome nearly 1,000 Portland children back to school with a new backpack filled with school supplies. Once again, the club adopted Jason Lee Elementary School as part of the program, providing 500 backpacks filled with a full set of notebooks, pencils, pens, rulers, glue sticks and folders. In partnership with Cook Security Group, the Timbers also assisted in the distribution of backpacks and supplies to 400 students at Humboldt School during the first week of school in September.
In September, the Timbers were able to grant a special wish for one local young man through Make-a-Wish. Portland native Conall McLeod, 19, battles a rare heart condition and his wish was to bring his friends to a Timbers match and meet his favorite Timbers player, midfielder Sal Zizzo. Little did he know, that he’d have the opportunity to become an honorary member of the Timbers for two unforgettable days, taking up his own locker beside Zizzo and participating in a training session in his own official team gear.
The Timbers had the opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of Portland-area youth through three new special programs in 2011 – Active Bodies Active Minds, Tix for Kids and Adopt-a-Club.
An assembly program affiliated with MLS W.O.R.K.S. and presented locally by Burgerville, Active Bodies Active Minds took the Timbers to nearly a dozen Portland-area schools, sharing the importance of fitness and nutrition. Almost 3,000 kids were able to attend a Timbers match during the season through Tix for Kids, thanks to the contributions of Alaska Airlines, Burgerville, JELD-WEN, KPTV, NW Natural and Providence Health & Services. The Adopt-a-Club program, sponsored by CenturyLink, allowed several Timbers players to serve as mentors for local youth soccer clubs and coaches.
The Timbers’ community outreach department partnered with the American Red Cross on two occasions throughout the season on disaster relief efforts across the globe. When a devastating tornado struck Timbers captain Jack Jewsbury’s hometown of Joplin, Mo., in the spring, both Jewsbury and the Timbers worked with fans to raise funds to assist tornado victims across the Midwest. The club also helped raise money for the Red Cross’ relief efforts following the devastating Japan earthquake in March.
In addition to these programs, the Timbers lent considerable time, energy and resources to a number of causes and organizations across the Portland metro area. Timbers Alumni Ambassadors Mick Hoban, Scot Thompson, Ross Smith, Bernie Fagan, John Bain, Lee Morrison and Jim Brazeau joined Timbers players and mascot Timber Joey in actively participating in hundreds of community appearances and fundraising events over the course of the year.
In 2011, Timbers players continued to do their part to make a difference in the community. Jewsbury was awarded the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month for August for his efforts in tornado relief fundraising. But no player was more giving of his time and energy than goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, who was named the Timbers’ 2011 Community Player of the Year following the season.