|Audio: Season Of Giving Q&A With Timberwolves President Chris Wright|
Editor’s Note: Timberwolves president Chris Wright sat down with Wolves Radio host John Focke to talk about some of the upcoming initiatives surrounding the FastBreak Foundation, including the Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation becoming a presenting sponsor, the Holiday Toy Drive and the annual Holiday Shopping for Kids event.
John Focke: Let’s start with the Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation and how did this partnership come about. Obviously you’ve worked with them for a while but now they’re becoming a presenting sponsor of the Timberwolves' FastBreak Foundation.
Chris Wright: Roger and Nancy have been great leaders in the philanthropic space for this franchise for a while, and have invested in many of the different initiatives that we’ve had with both the FastBreak Foundation and in our Community Relations department. Most notably they’ve been involved in everything we’ve done in November for the troops and Operation: Heroes and our Give Thanks events over at SEVEN, and they’ve always had a role in that. And over a period of time we’ve been talking with them about the potential to expand that relationship. They’re very involved in looking at different children’s causes, and when we noticed that and they saw some of the work that we’re doing year-round, we just decided that we should sit down and explore opportunities that might be mutually beneficial for us and certainly where they want to spend a lot of their time and their resources. We’re very fortunate to have them as the very first platinum presenting sponsor of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ FastBreak Foundation. They’ve made a sizeable contribution and commitment to our foundation, which really allows us to grow the work of our foundation across all of the different platforms we have from the beginning of November to the end of our season.
JF: Joining up with them, obviously with the financial benefit of their donation, but joining up with another foundation and the resources they have, how does it help the FastBreak Foundation and how does the FastBreak Foundation then in turn help their foundation?
CW: They’re very committed to a lot of youth programs in the market place. They have a huge program with the Arboretum. They have a huge program with the Science Museum. All targeted to young, disadvantaged children in our community who would not normally get an opportunity to go visit the University of Minnesota Arboretum, be given the opporutnity to go and learn many aspects of science seen through the eyes of the Science Museum. We saw that as an opportunity because we have access to a lot of schools, a lot of initiatives inside of schools that reaches a tremendous number of kids. As we worked through how all of that could potentially come together, they saw the opportunity of reaching just thousands of kids in our community by extending to us a grant, the size of which we have never seen before as a foundation. All they know is the amount of work we do is extremely beneficial and this is a way to grow the amount of work and the number of lives that we can touch.
JF: Looking ahead here as we move into December we have the toy drive coming up, and the Foundation partnering with SPIRE Federal Credit Union there. Tell us about this toy drive, how fun it is for fans to take part in and SPIRE Federal Credit Union, and the donation as well.
CW: The donation in the end goes to the Amplatz Children’s Hospital, so we’re very, very pleased to partner with them. Obviously there are a tremendous number of kids who have needs over the holidays, and we try to play our part in reaching out to as many of those people as we can. Through SPIRE, through our fans, SPIRE is going to have collection points in all of its locations in the Twin Cities market. We’re working with them as well to announce to our fans the ability to bring toys to all of our games in December so we can go to Amplatz and really make the holidays for some kids who under normal circumstances wouldn’t have quite the holidays all kids really want at this time of the year.
JF: Through the FastBreak Foundation and the Wolves in general in December, whether it’s the toy drive or shopping with kids, really make a concerted effort to get presents, gifts into the hands of kids who really need them.
CW: Yeah we do, and you know, John, the needs out there are overwhelming at times. You've got to play a role, and part of the basis of everything we do here is to make sure we give back to the community in which we play. And this time of year what better way is there than to really put a smile on kids’ faces by giving them something that under normal circumstances they wouldn’t be able to receive? So through everything that we do, including our shopping spree for kids with our players to Target, plus the Amplatz initiative with SPIRE, we hope we can touch some lives and make this holiday season just a little bit better for kids who normally wouldn’t have a great time at this particular time of the year.