Timbers further efforts to impact community

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland Beavers and Portland Timbers players, staff and management continued the tradition of giving back and again made a positive impact on community values and individual lives in 2008 by generously donating funds to groups in need and lending significant time and energy to a number of philanthropic programs.

The teams’ considerable outreach efforts were highlighted by a highly successful and rewarding inaugural year of the Portland Beavers & Portland Timbers Community Fund, which donated $103,000 to numerous nonprofit organizations. To further bolster the philanthropic fund, the Beavers and Timbers have announced that Spirit Mountain Casino will join Nike and Ross Electric as a community partner for the 2009 season.

“I feel tremendous about what we were able to accomplish in the inaugural year of the community fund,” said Merritt Paulson, president of the Beavers and Timbers. “We look forward to building upon our efforts and making more of a positive impact in our community in 2009 and beyond.”

The 2008 season also saw the return of several rewarding community programs, including jersey auctions, awareness nights and collection drives. In addition, new fundraisers and community-giving programs were implemented.

In what has become an annual tradition, both the Beavers and Timbers offered their game-worn jerseys to help raise money at the end of their respective seasons. These auctions combined to raise more than $14,000 for the teams’ community fund, Schoolhouse Supplies and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Further, the Beavers’ annual Strike Out Breast Cancer event in August generated a total of $15,975 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, including Health Net of Oregon’s presentation of $10,000 as part of its generous program to donate $25 for each home strikeout recorded by a Portland pitcher in 2008. 

The teams have continued to raise money for the community fund in the off-season, conducting a series of online memorabilia auctions that feature game-worn items from both the Beavers and Timbers as well as collectibles from assorted Major League Baseball, NBA, NHL and NFL teams.

The Beavers and Timbers continued their support of Schoolhouse Supplies in 2008 through collection drives and participation in its “Tools for Schools” program. With the support of Supercuts, the Beavers hosted a “Back-to-School Supply Drive” near the end of the season. With the help of both teams and other supply-drive partners, Schoolhouse Supplies was able to provide more than $509,000 in supplies to 10,590 children during its month-long drive leading into the new school year. Once again in 2008, the Beavers and Timbers adopted Jason Lee Elementary School as part of the program, providing 555 backpacks filled with school supplies to students during their first week of school in September.

In addition to the returning community programs, the teams’ community outreach department took on a new fundraiser to benefit the cyclone victims in Myanmar. Partnering with Medical Teams International and KGW NewsChannel 8, the Beavers helped in raising money for the cause, while KGW and chief meteorologist, Matt Zaffino, hosted three live weather broadcasts from PGE Park.

Supported by the Timbers’ outreach program, Timbers midfielder Lawrence Olum returned home to Kenya in November with boxes of used soccer gear, balls and Timbers apparel to help outfit and aid local youth soccer organizations in his hometown.

“We are proud to support youth-focused initiatives both in Portland and in the communities from which our players come,” said Sierra Smith, manager of community outreach for the Beavers and Timbers. “We recognize the fact that children around the world face a wide variety of challenges, and we are passionate about supporting programs that benefit youth—especially as it relates to sports and promoting a healthy lifestyle.”

The 2008 season marked the third year of a partnership with Willoughby Hearing Aid Centers. As part of the season-long program, one hearing aid was donated to a child in need for each home game that a Beavers player hit a home run. More than 138 hearing aids have been donated through this program over the past three years. On the soccer pitch, the Timbers and First Tech Credit Union partnered to raise awareness for SOLV, an organization devoted to a healthy environment for Oregonians. Through this partnership, First Tech Credit Union donated $50 per save made by a Timbers goalkeeper, netting $2,300 for SOLV and its programs.

Cricket Wireless again sponsored a free baseball and soccer clinic, introducing the sports to Boys & Girls Club children who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to participate in a camp. PGE Park corporate partners American Family Insurance and Esurance both sponsored members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area, enabling kids to take part in Beavers and Timbers youth camps at no charge. Thanks to the generosity of these corporate partners, nearly $30,000 was provided for the camps.

In partnership with Fred Meyer, the Beavers presented a Homestand Hero award throughout the season, recognizing student-athletes excelling both on and off the field. Ten Homestand Heroes were honored in 2008, with Fred Meyer providing $2,000 in gift cards and framed certificates to the honorees.

The Beavers also continued their Coach and Volunteer of the Year awards in 2008. Working with Friends of Baseball, the Beavers recognized deserving individuals who keep youth baseball and softball thriving in the greater-Portland area with a $500 check from both Friends of Baseball and the Beavers. The Timbers also hosted Coach and Volunteer of the Year awards and were able to recognize two individuals who devote their time to youth soccer in the Portland area with a check for $500 to use to benefit their clubs.

In addition to these programs, the Beavers and Timbers continued to partner with a number of causes and organizations in an ever-increasing community outreach effort. The Beavers and Timbers actively supported thousands of community groups through donations to various fundraising events over the course of the year, providing more than $400,000 in tickets, merchandise and experiential donations.

Once again in 2008, Beavers and Timbers players continued to do their part to make a difference in the community. No players were more giving of their time and energy than Dirk Hayhurst of the Beavers and Miguel Guante and Troy Ready of the Timbers. Hayhurst and Guante were named Community Players of the Year for their efforts for their respective team, while Ready was also honored for his stellar efforts.