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When Mooseheart received a $10,000 grant through the Dick’s Sporting Goods “Sports Matter Foundation,” the campus received funding for much-needed sporting equipment. Just as important, however, is that Mooseheart began a relationship with area Dick’s employees, which both organizations feel will prove mutually beneficial in years to come.
“Dick’s Sporting Goods is right within our area and we do a lot of shopping there. It’s fantastic that they thought enough of our mission and what we do to bring the grant opportunity to our attention, and it’s great to now have been awarded the $10,000,” Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler said.
The check presentation was made Jan. 16 on behalf of Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Chicago West District, which includes 11 stores in Geneva and Naperville and others in Oswego, Schaumburg and Algonquin. Dave Gathman, store manager of the Geneva location, passed Mooseheart almost daily and became interested in the campus.
“In the last two to three years, through this grant program, our company has been great at giving autonomy to store leaders to find organizations that will benefit locally from receiving a grant. When (Gathman) brought the idea of a grant going to Mooseheart to me, it was kind of a no-brainer. Then after we met with Mooseheart’s people, we realized that it was a grant that we’re more than enthused to be able to give to them,” Dick’s Sporting Goods Chicago West District Manager Paul Cerpa said.
Mooseheart breaks ground on an $8 million Mooseheart Activity Center (MAC) project in May, scheduled to be completed by 2022. The MAC will include expanded and updated indoor exercise space for Mooseheart’s students.
“The timing is wonderful,” Urwiler said. “With the new MAC coming soon and the Loyal Order of Moose contributions to our $8 million project, having this grant falls right into place. The money from this grant will be used for new fitness equipment at the MAC.”
The Sports Matters Foundation works from a simple premise: “Sports make people better” – and provides grants to youth organizations because “sports build character, increase confidence, motivate kids to stay in school and aim for higher education; teaching life lessons that extend beyond the playing field.”
“That’s when you can see the grassroots efforts come alive, through the smiles on their faces. It’s that tangible moment when all of the commitment and effort you’ve made meets the belief you have in this foundation,” Cerpa said.
Beyond the award of the grant, both Mooseheart and Dick’s officials said they hoped this would be more than just a one-time interaction between the two organizations.
“The best thing of all is for them to have an awareness of who we are. We love people in our area to know what Mooseheart is. I’ve had two occasions to provide campus tours to their team and I think that has helped build a connection between us and them,” Urwiler said.
Cerpa said that the Chicago West District has close to 500 employees who may volunteer at Mooseheart events, attend Ramblers sporting events or support the campus in other ways.
“I look forward to the chance to have continued outreach with Mooseheart. It’s about building a longer-term relationship, rather than just giving this grant. We want to have our name in the community. Mooseheart has a lot to offer our employees,” Cerpa said.