The New York Times looks at how some major-league sports franchises are involving fans directly in their community work as part of a special section of articles about giving. The piece focuses on the Tampa Bay Lightning, whose owner, Jeff Vinik, pledged $10 million to local charities when he purchased the National Hockey League franchise in 2010.
Rather than direct the giving himself, Mr. Vinik established a program by which fans nominate local good Samaritans. A panel of community leaders selects a "hero" from the list to be honored at each home game, and each hero directs a $50,000 team donation. Over the last four years, $9.1 million has been given to 350 area nonprofits through the program.
Among other topics, the Times package also includes a report on the growing impact of gay-rights issues in the philanthropic world, a profile of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his giving in pursuit of scientific breakthroughs, and an interview with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on the strategic business benefits of his "1-1-1" model of corporate giving.