Cats Care Season in Review
Community Report: Cats Care Season in Review

By Bernie Washington
bobcats.com
May 7, 2014
Cats Care Homepage

The role of the Charlotte Bobcats within the community extends beyond the final score and standings.  Through Cats Care Community Relations and the Cats Care Foundation, the Charlotte Bobcats will always make serving the community a priority by engaging the organization in meaningful and impactful philanthropic efforts that empower and enrich the lives of those in need throughout the Carolinas.

Our Community Report blog followers know that education, wellness and hunger are the three pivotal areas of focus for Cats Care Community Relations and the Cats Care Foundation, and through our partnered efforts, we’ve made great strides in serving the community during the Bobcats 2013-14 season.  Thank you for supporting our philanthropic efforts through donations, participating in our in-game fundraisers, volunteering at our events and providing feedback that we will use as we transition to the Charlotte Hornets to make a greater lasting positive impact in our community.  Here are 2013-14 Charlotte Bobcats community highlights including a newly adopted pillar—military care.

EDUCATION

Cool School Field Trip
Through our Cool School Field Trip, we hosted 15,000 middle school students for a day of celebration and curriculum-based activities.  The Cool School Field Trip debuted in 2005 and since its inception, this event has impacted 135,000 middle school students over the course of nine years.  This field trip was designed to reward students who excel in school by demonstrating outstanding performance, character and service in the classroom.  Each year, our goal is to fill Time Warner Cable® Arena with deserving students, teachers and administrators and reward them for a job well done.

Bobcats Book Bus
The Book Bus hit the road in April of 2013 through a partnership with Lowe’s.  This full-service literacy bus encourages reading and learning programs for Charlotte-area youth between the ages of 5 and 13, and holds approximately 3,000 books.  In the Book Bus’ first full year of service it has visited 100 schools and donated more than 2,500 books.

Bobcats/Lowe’s Educational Grants
The Bobcats and Lowe's awarded a total of $50,000 to five local groups as part of the organizations’ new educational grant program.  United Way of Central Carolinas, Freedom School Partners, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, 100 Black Men of Charlotte and the Allegro Foundation were the first recipients of the education grants.  The organizations received its donation during an event at the Bobcats Community Corner at Time Warner Cable® Arena.
The grants will support the following projects:

100 Black Men of Charlotte –Movement of Youth Mentoring program, which seeks to increase graduation rates and college attendance through academic programming, one-on-one mentoring and college and career preparation.

Allegro Foundation –Fund free weekly movement education classes for 160 children with disabilities at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Title I elementary schools.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library –Tutor.com, a real-time online homework assistance resource that is free to any student with a library card.

Freedom School Partners –Fund summer literacy programs that help close the achievement gap at Title 1 and Project Lift Schools.

United Way of Central Carolinas –Project 1,000, a program that seeks to place volunteer mentors with some of the lowest-performing children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Anti-Bullying:  Too Cool to Bully Program
The Bobcats and Wells Fargo honored one CMS teacher per month for their efforts to make sure every student feels safe and welcome at school.  To commend each teacher, we offered each winner two tickets to a Bobcats home game and $1,000 to thank them for standing up to bullies!

Y Achievers Scholarships
The Bobcats partnered with FOX Sports to provide three $5,000 college scholarships to help fund the educational goals of three local high school seniors: Rachel Bernard (Vance High School), Anjelica Pendergrass (West Charlotte High School) and Jordan Williams (West Charlotte High School).  Each student participated in the Y Achievers program, a YMCA of Greater Charlotte initiative that operates in partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The program helps teens improve academic performance, develop a positive sense of self, build character, explore diverse college and career options and interact with professionals who serve as role models.

Last year, the two organizations joined together for a $200,000 sponsorship of Y Achievers.  Along with the $200,000 sponsorship, they honored one student each from West Charlotte High School, West Mecklenburg High School and Vance High School with a $5,000 college scholarship to help fund their educational goals after high school.  The Bobcats also invited six local high school students who were members of Y Achievers to participate in the Cats Academy Fellowship Program.  Two students each from Vance, West Charlotte and West Mecklenburg participated in the six-week fellowship, which was designed to provide insight and experience into the sports and entertainment industry.  We are currently gearing up for the Hornets Academy Fellowship Program, which is scheduled for June 23 - August 1.

WELLNESS

Special Olympics of North Carolina Clinic
The entire Bobcats squad and mascot Rufus teamed up with Bojangles to host a basketball clinic for more than 100 Special Olympics of North Carolina athletes at the Carole Hoefener Community Services Center.  The day began with lunch for all the participating athletes, courtesy of Bojangles.  After lunch, all athletes and spectators filed into the gymnasium and were introduced to the Bobcats players.  The athletes were organized into teams and participated in several stations set up to teach them important basketball skills.  Players instructed the athletes on the value of practice and teamwork through passing, shooting, dribbling and defensive drills.  

Big Brothers Big Sisters Clinic
Members of the Bobcats and the Lady Cats reached out to the community by hosting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte for a basketball clinic at Time Warner Cable® Arena.  The night began with an introduction of the Bobcats players, then children ages 6-13 and their mentors dispersed and participated in several stations set up to teach them important basketball skills.  Players instructed the children on the value of practice and teamwork through passing, shooting, dribbling and defensive drills.

MGR Foundation
The Bobcats and BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina teamed up this season to support the Marilyn G. Rabb Foundation.  The MGR Foundation is committed to overcoming social and economic barriers by creating innovative programs that positively impact our community.  Here in Charlotte, the MGR Foundation has established programs at both Vance and Garringer high schools.  These programs ranging from environmental education, yoga, spin classes and marathon training are all designed to enhance the afterschool activities available to students.  The MGR Foundation also seeks to pair each participating student with a community mentor who will attend the after school programming with their mentee and encourage them throughout the school year.
Bobcats players Bismack Biyombo and Jannero Pargo, as well as the Lady Cats, sweated through a forty-five minute Hip Hop Abs class with MGR students and their mentors at Vance High School.  Both Pargo and Biyombo ended the workout sessions by explaining to the students why being active is so important and what they do to stay fit.

Novant Health Community Care Cruiser
The Bobcats made a $140,000 donation to the Novant Health Community Care Cruiser during a press conference held at Bruns Academy in Charlotte.  Over the past six years, the Bobcats have contributed more than $600,000 to the Community Care Cruiser, a 40-foot mobile clinic, providing immunizations (vaccines) to uninsured and underinsured children in the greater Charlotte area.  The donation was raised through the Cats Care Foundation’s annual “My Hero Gala,” which took place on October 26, 2013.

The Novant Health Community Care Cruiser hit the road six years ago with the promise of delivering quality healthcare to underserved youth in need.  By partnering with community centers and places of worship, the Cruiser extended both a heart and a hand to our most vulnerable neighbors, ensuring every child had access to primary and preventive care and vaccines, as well as to vital community resources like Charlotte Community Health Clinic.  Eight thousand patients and 11,000 immunizations later, the Cruiser has made a lasting impact on youth in our community.

Blume Night
The Bobcats teamed up with Novant Health and Hickory Tavern to host Novant Health Blume Night on at Time Warner Cable® Arena.  To start the evening, children from the Novant Health Blume Pediatric Hematology/Oncology ward and their families were escorted from the Presbyterian Blume Center via limo to Hickory Tavern for a pregame dinner.  The children and their families later arrived at Time Warner Cable® Arena where mascot Rufus and the Lady Cats welcomed them.  Participants were able to watch the Bobcats take on the San Antonio Spurs from a luxury suite supplied with snacks and drinks.  The guests each received a Cats Care fan pack and were treated to items from our popular dessert cart.  

Hospital Visits
Throughout the year, Bobcats players, Lady Cats and mascot Rufus visit children at the Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital to spread a little joy and Bobcats goodies.  We are always sure to make special appearances during the holidays:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.  Bobcats Guard Jeff Taylor frequently visits Hemby Children’s Hospital to replenish Brave Baskets with toys.  

Green Week
For this year’s NBA Green Week, the Bobcats partnered with TreesCharlotte to help preserve one of Charlotte’s most valuable resources—its trees.  Reid Park Academy students and Bobcats players Brendan Haywood, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor worked tirelessly to plant a grove of trees at Reid Park Academy.  Their efforts brought TreesCharlotte one step closer to achieving its goal of 15,000 trees planted in 2014.

HUNGER

Mobile Pantry
In February of 2012, The Bobcats and Fox Sports partnered to help fight hunger by donating a 26-foot, 14,000-pound refrigerated mobile pantry to serve as a transport unit for more than 100,000 pounds of pre-packed food items and canned goods to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.  Annually, the mobile pantry hosts more than 100 events in nine different counties including: Burke, Lincoln, Rutherford, Cabarrus, York, Stanley, Anson, Lancaster and Mecklenburg.  Within Mecklenburg County, there are more than 25 events with the majority of those being held at high poverty rate elementary schools.  The mobile pantry serves more than 25,000 families and provides between 850,000 and 1,110,000 pounds of food each year.

Hoops for Hope
The Bobcats officially kicked off the Season of Giving with its annual Hoops for Hope event at Strike City.  Bobcats players James Southerland, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Adrian and Jannero Pargo served over 100 children from A Child’s Place and their families a traditional Thanksgiving dinner before joining them for a night of bowling, ping pong and pool.  The children enjoyed turkey and all the fixings and then had a great time visiting with mascot Rufus, the Lady Cats and members of the Bobcats team.  After a night of fun, each child left with a brand new backpack stuffed with winter essentials.

Cornucopia
In partnership with Wells Fargo, Food Lion and Coca-Cola, the Bobcats provide 4,000 meals to low-income families during Thanksgiving, through our annual Cornucopia event.  The entire Hornets team and coaching staff helped deliver food items to families.  By providing meals to those in need, the Bobcats, in collaboration with our partners, are able to tackle hunger in our community, which is one of the biggest issues in Charlotte today.

Street Turkeys
Each year, the Bobcats partner with Sports Radio 610AM WFNZ The Fan at the WFNZ Doghouse to raise money and awareness for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry as part of the station’s Street Turkeys event.  Thousands of dollars and tons of food have been donated to help provide meals to families in need, while increasing awareness of the problem of hunger in the Charlotte area.

Dunk Hunger
The Bobcats and Walgreens kicked off its five-week Dunk Hunger Cereal Drive in January.  The Dunk Hunger Cereal Drive took place at Time Warner Cable® Arena and fifteen participating Walgreens stores.  Together, we donated 8,322 boxes of cereal to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Capital Campaign
The Bobcats and Wells Fargo partnered to donate $50,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina in support of its Capital Campaign. The Capital Campaign was designed to provide the necessary funding to build a new 40,000-square-foot distribution facility.  Both organizations kicked off the campaign with a breakfast  held at Time Warner Cable® Arena.  Today, approximately 500,000 people in a 19 county region surrounding Charlotte live at or below the poverty level and over 35% of the people at risk of hunger are children and seniors.

MILITARY CARE

Yellow Ribbon Program
The Bobcats and Wells Fargo honored two (2) veterans per month at a Bobcats home game.  As a small token of appreciation for their service and sacrifice, we provide each veteran with six (6) tickets to a Bobcats home game and present them with a $1,000 check.

Veteran Home Giveaway
In partnership with Wells Fargo, the Bobcats honored Corporal Carl Morgan for his military service with a newly renovated home.  While enlisted, Corporal Morgan was awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medial (1 Star), Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon (Afghanistan), National Defense Service Medal, Global War On Terror Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon among other awards.  Corporal Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury and a blown optic nerve in his right eye in 2011 and currently suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Military Care Packages
The Bobcats, Family Dollar and Wells Fargo partnered together for a military care event at Time Warner Cable® Arena.  The unique community initiative in which members of each organization prepared, packaged and donated over 10,000 care kits to military troops overseas.  As part of this community impact program with the Bobcats, The Wells Fargo Foundation also presented two local military and Veteran organizations with grants to support their work in the Carolinas.
Care kit items included a personalized note from a Bobcats players, executive or fan, powdered Gatorade packets, toothbrushes, aspirin, soap and deodorant among other items.  All products were donated courtesy of Family Dollar and its supplier partners Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Proctor & Gamble, Blistex, Henkel, Conair, AEP Industries and Energizer.  In total, 140,000 items were included in the 10,000 care kits and, once packaged, they were shipped to Operation Gratitude in California via Paxton, the Bobcats official moving partner.  Operation Gratitude then shipped the care kits to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the Middle East as well as ships in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

BOBCATS COMMUNITY CORNER NPO PARTNER PROGRAM

The Bobcats Community Corner is a unique space located on the main concourse of Time Warner Cable® Arena and was designed to highlight the Bobcats’ philanthropic efforts throughout the season and the efforts of local NPOs (non-profit organizations).  At the Bobcats Community Corner, NPOs in Charlotte and surrounding have the opportunity to showcase its organization to thousands of Bobcats fans, advertise upcoming events and fundraise.  The Bobcats Community Corner also serves as home base for the Cats Care Foundation’s Charity Silent Auction, Courtside Raffle and other seasonal fundraising initiatives. 

The Bobcats partnered with 19 NPOs this season including Susan G. Komen, Classroom Central, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation, American Heart Association, Freedom School Partners, United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

ADOPT-A-FAMILY

In the spirit of giving this past holiday season, the Bobcats partnered with The Salvation Army Center of Hope Shelter and A Child’s Place to adopt 23 impoverished families for Christmas.  Bobcats employees and their family members delivered Christmas gifts to their adopted family.  Without the benefit of an adoption, these families would be looking forward to a very grim holiday.

We look forward to our 2014-15 season!  Thank you for supporting the Charlotte Bobcats and its community efforts.

Care. Serve. Repeat.

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Past Community Reports:
Apr. 25: CR Playoff Events
Apr. 11: Cats Care Foundation Charity Sale
Apr. 4: Bobcats and TreesCharlotte Partner for NBA Green Week
Mar. 28: Bobcats, Family Dollar and Wells Fargo Partner for Military Care Event
Mar. 14: Cats Partner with Charlotte Family Housing
Mar. 7: Bobcats Charity Silent Auction Now Online!
Feb. 14: Bobcats and Lowe’s Celebrate Black History Month
Feb. 7: Bobcats Partner with Classroom Central During Spurs Game
Jan. 31: Dunk Hunger Update
Jan. 24: Charlotte Rescue Mission to partner with the Charlotte Bobcats at the Community Corner
Jan. 17: Dunk Hunger Cereal Drive
Jan. 10: $140K Donation to the Novant Health Community Care Cruiser
Dec. 20: Happy Holidays
Dec. 13: United Way's Project 1,000 Calling
Dec. 6: New Community Corner
Dec. 3: Thanksgiving In Review
Nov. 22: 1 Day, 2 Great Events
Nov. 15: Bobcats Staff Service Week
Nov. 15: Staff Service Week Gallery
Nov. 8: Community Report Debuts