After a season of superior performance on the football field, the Philadelphia Eagles today were honored for their impressive work off the field. In a ceremony at the national Sports Philanthropy Conference in Atlanta, Eagles Youth Partnership, the Eagles charitable foundation, became the first recipient of the Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award.
The Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award is given by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Sports Philanthropy Project to a sports team or athlete foundation whose work is devoted to improving the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. The Eagles were honored for their Eagles Eye Mobile Program, a project that provides free vision exams and prescription glasses for thousands of underserved children in Philadelphia.
"Sports teams and athletes are uniquely positioned to bring together much needed resources, community partners and public awareness to help solve our society's most pressing problems," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D. president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The Eagles Eye Mobile Program is a shining example of how one team has used its standing in the community to improve the health of young people in need."
The Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award embodies the values of its namesake. Steve Patterson was a well known center on three national championship basketball teams at UCLA. He later played in the NBA and coached at Arizona State University. Following his athletic career, Steve began Patterson Sports Ventures, linking players, teams and sports foundations with important social causes. Tragically, Steve Patterson was diagnosed with cancer in June of 2004 and passed away a month later at the age of 56. For more information on the Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award, visit www.stevepattersonaward.com.
"On behalf of Eagles Youth Partnership, the Eagles and all of our partners, we are honored to receive the inaugural Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award. This award will help us to extend the Eagles Eye Mobile program to even more children, providing them each with the gift of sight," said Sarah Martinez-Helfman, Eagles Youth Partnership's executive director. "Steve touched so many lives; what a fitting tribute to him and the vision of leadership he modeled in improving the lives of others."
Eagles Youth Partnership was established in 1995 to improve the quality of life for children and youth in the Greater Philadelphia region through health and education partnerships. Eagles Youth Partnership strategically teams the power of the Philadelphia Eagles Football Club, including the resources of its corporate and nonprofit partners, with the celebrity appeal of its players to deliver critical services to vulnerable children living in poverty. Eagles Youth Partnership reaches 50,000 kids each year.
The Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award was given to Eagles Youth Partnership at a ceremony held at The Arthur M. Blank Family Office, home of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation promotes positive change in people's lives and builds and enhances the communities in which they live. The Foundation has an especially strong interest in supporting innovative endeavors leading to better circumstances for low-income youth and their families.
The Sports Philanthropy Project works to maximize the potential of sports foundations to have a significant impact on the health, social development and well-being of their communities. The Sports Philanthropy Project enhances that impact by helping foundations build comprehensive community programs and by facilitating ongoing forums which advance best practices in sports philanthropy.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, NJ, is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse—tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.
The Steve Patterson Sports Philanthropy Award was designed by artist Susan Clinard. To learn more about Clinard's art, please visit www.clinard.org.