Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy Finalists Announced

    • June 25, 2013

Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced the 2013 Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy finalists. The winners will be announced on September 25, 2013 at a ceremony in Princeton, N.J., where RWJF will host a celebration of sports philanthropy, inviting 2013 award applicants, past winners and the review committee to an exclusive day of learning, networking and recognizing excellence in the field.

The prestigious Patterson award from RWJF, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted solely to improving the health of all Americans, celebrates and promotes those in the sports world who are improving lives by leveraging the unique influence of sports. This year’s finalists join an impressive and growing list of sports organizations and individuals who are answering the call to give back.

"It's an incredible achievement for these finalists to be recognized for the outstanding philanthropic work they are doing in their respective communities to promote health and healthy living," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO. "All of the finalists are leaders in their communities and they have the power to make real and lasting change. We celebrate the positive impact these organizations are making to help others and to promote a culture of health in the nation."

The 2013 finalists are as follows:

Category 1: A professional sports team community relations department or a professional sports team foundation based in the United States, Canada, or International.

  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Portland Timbers

(Previous winners: Philadelphia Eagles Youth Partnership, Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation, San Francisco Giants Community Fund, Red Sox Foundation, Cincinnati Reds Community Fund, Chicago White Sox Volunteer Corps, U.S. Soccer Foundation)

Category 2: An individual athlete or professional coach's foundation based in the United States, Canada, or International.

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation
  • Tony Hawk Foundation
  • Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc.

(Previous winners include: The Moyer Foundation, The Steve Nash Foundation, Marvin Lewis Community Fund, Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, Brian Griese and Judi's House, Notah Begay III Foundation)

Category 3: A professional sports league, player association or sports philanthropy organization based in the United States, Canada, or International.

  • USTA Serves, Inc.
  • LA84 Foundation

(Previous winner [2012 was the first year of Category 3]: The Women’s Sports Foundation)

The first recipient of the Patterson Award in 2005 was the Eagles Youth Partnership organization. According to Executive Director Sarah Martinez-Helfman, "We had no idea how the award would catapult us into a national spotlight. Martinez-Helfman continued, "I think it was this award that positioned us for that kind of attention. It allowed what we do here to have a ripple effect across the country. Additionally, being associated with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gives us an added layer of credibility. When we get an award like this from such a credible foundation that is nationally known, and they are putting their stamp of approval on what we're doing, it allows us to build the trust and to do so much more. In the same way this award moved us from a regional to a national stage, that can happen with anyone the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation chooses to shine the spotlight on."

The reigning winner from the individual athlete category is Notah Begay III Foundation. "Being a part of the Patterson Award family and the exposure this honor gives to award winners has elevated our public recognition among national funders as well as in our tribal communities," said Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director of the Notah Begay III Foundation. "The award has given NB3F a more powerful voice to significantly raise awareness about the fact that one in two Native children will get type 2 diabetes in their lifetime and that our organization has programming models that combat this preventable disease. Because of the award, NB3F has strengthened relationships with current donors like the U.S. Soccer Foundation and has started new relationships with eager supporters to help us expand our programming to Native communities throughout the United States."


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For more than 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or Facebook at

About Steve Patterson

Steve became widely known as a member of three national championship basketball teams at UCLA, as an NBA player, and as head coach at Arizona State University. But it was his contributions off the court—uniting businesses and communities to help those less fortunate—that are his most enduring. After Steve's death from cancer at age 56, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation created this first-of-its-kind award in 2005. It celebrates and promotes the selfless service of those within the world of sports whose passionate efforts make a difference in the lives around them.

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

Additional Media Contact: Meredith Geisler

(301) 610-5001