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Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation wins honors

The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Blue Jackets Foundation were honored Tuesday for their corporate philanthropy as Columbus Business First recognized the organization as its Benefactor of the Year during the 14th Annual Corporate Caring Awards Luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus. The team and its charitable foundation were among 45 finalists nominated for the top honor.

The award was accepted by Blue Jackets majority owner and Foundation chairman, John P. McConnell, who credited the achievement to the efforts of several individuals who joined him on stage -- Blue Jackets players Jared Boll, Derek Dorsett and Kris Russell along with the Foundation's executive director and team's director of community development, Wendy Bradshaw, and the team's manager of community development, Kate Furman. The Blue Jackets ownership group was further represented on stage by Ron Pizzuti, who also participated in the event as a keynote speaker alongside his wife, Ann.

The Foundation had received Corporate Caring awards in the areas of education and health/human services in 2005 and 2006, but this year's honor marks the first as Benefactor of the Year.

"It is extremely rewarding to receive an honor that showcases our organization's commitment to the community and recognizes the impact we have made in our signature causes," said Bradshaw. "We look forward to continuing and expanding our charitable efforts during our upcoming 10th anniversary season and beyond." 

Last week, the Blue Jackets Foundation announced the donation of a record-high total of $411,750 in grants to local charitable and youth hockey organizations that serve the Foundation's main pillars of giving: pediatric cancer; education; children's health and safety; and the development of youth and amateur hockey. Since its inception 10 years ago, the Foundation has awarded nearly $3 million in community grants.

The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation was established in March of 2000 by late team founder John H. McConnell to utilize the unique resources of the hockey club's professional athletes, coaches and staff to help improve the quality of life throughout the community.

For information on the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, visit BlueJacketsFoundation.org.