Recognizing the powerful, positive lessons kids learn when they can compete and have fun as part of a team, Buffalo Wild Wings announced an extended three-year partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to continue the ALL STARS youth sports program across the country through the restaurant chain’s Team Up for Kids initiative.
Following the success of the initial partnership in 2013 – which raised more than $1.5 million and helped 12,000 kids – the restaurant chain committed a minimum $1 million annual donation to BGCA to provide ALL STARS grants for Clubs to add or improve flag or tackle football and cheerleading teams. The donation will also provide training for coaches and fund special projects at local Clubs.
Buffalo Wild Wings will also work with BGCA to develop a new reward program to recognize kids, coaches, and volunteers who demonstrate commitment, leadership, and sportsmanship. Incremental funds raised will provide additional ALL STARS grants.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to bring to life our vision that there is a champion in every child,” says Mary Twinem, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Buffalo Wild Wings, and the driving force behind Team Up for Kids. “By focusing our charitable efforts on youth sports, Buffalo Wild Wings hopes to bring the benefits of team sports to every child who wants to play.”
The partnership provides funding and football jerseys for teams in the ALL STARS program. The Clubs also receive access to coaching education for 5,000 coaches through the National Alliance of Youth Sports (NAYS), a non-profit organization with a widely-used training program focused on creating positive and safe team sports experiences.
“We are excited that Boys & Girls Clubs of America has selected NAYS as the program of choice to train the many volunteers and staff coaching in their youth sports programs,” says John Engh, chief operating officer of NAYS. “As someone who participated in Boys & Girls Clubs programs while growing up, it shows me that they continue to be dedicated to the quality of the youth sports experience.”
In 2013, Buffalo Wild Wings donated and raised more than $1.5 million for BGCA through a variety of promotions including donations from its sauce and seasoning bottles sales, as well as numerous in-restaurant promotions and corporate contributions. These efforts helped more than 12,000 kids participate on more than 900 flag and tackle football and cheerleading teams across the country.
In 2014, Buffalo Wild Wings expects to donate and raise at least $1 million and provide at least 250 ALL STARS grants, helping more than 25,000 kids belong to a team. It will also work with BGCA to develop a program that recognizes kids, coaches, and volunteers who personify the values of the ALL STARS program – leadership, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
“We believe that every young person can have a promising future, and our ALL STARS grant partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings is a great way for us to help as many children as possible become part of a team and build the confidence and social skills that will help them succeed later in life,” says Wayne B. Moss, senior director of Healthy Lifestyles, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “It’s not about who wins or loses. We aim to show kids that the joy of sports lies in getting involved, getting physically active, and working together for a greater goal – which is a valuable life lesson that endures long after the final score.”
Buffalo Wild Wings’ commitment to helping make communities a better place to live, work and grow has always been a part of its culture. Since the first restaurants opened in Ohio, the company has supported local community and school sports teams. Over the years, Buffalo Wild Wings, its franchisees, and guests have given millions of dollars to local teams, local community and school organizations, and to support those in need.