- October 19, 2022
The Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and Vinik Family Foundation have each contributed $1 million to organizations working to assist Southwest Florida residents whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Ian.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is no stranger to charitable causes. In June, he gave $5,000 to each of the team’s 244 employees and directed them to donate the money to the nonprofit cause of their choice. Prior to that, in May, Vinik and his wife, Penny, contributed $5 million to the Tampa Museum of Art that will support renovations related to the institution’s new education center.
“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the Southwest region of the state," Vinik states in a news release. "In times like these, the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation has set up a Hurricane Ian relief fund to which anyone can donate, and it says that it, along with the Vinik Family Foundation, will continue to form key partnerships and identify opportunities to support people in the aftermath of the hurricane’s destruction.
Other notable sports figures have opened their checkbooks for hurricane victims. The Glazer family, which owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, funneled $1 million to relief efforts across the state.
“The destruction suffered in Southwest Florida and the damage inflicted throughout our state will be felt for some time," Buccaneers co-owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz states in a news release. "It will take entire communities resiliently working together for an extended period, and our family is committed to aiding in the recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with the countless people affected, the heroic first responders and all of those helping to keep others safe."
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady also is helping out, announcing via Twitter he has donated to the Florida Disaster Fund.
“Our neighbors support us endlessly,” Brady wrote in his Twitter post. “It’s time to return the favor.”