We spoke with Kathryn Dobbs, Vice President of Community Relations for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Peter Falcone, CEO of JP Sports + Entertainment, ran down the top plays in sports philanthropy, and brought you new MVPs in this month's edition.
JohnPaul Bennett is the Director of Marketing at PLEDGE IT, a sports fundraising platform empowering teams and athletes to raise money based on their performance. Since 2014, PLEDGE IT has helped professional athletes and teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, PGA, MLL and Olympics support their favorite charitable causes, as well as countless colleges, high schools and youth teams. PLEDGE IT also works with large charitable organizations such as The American Cancer Society, UNICEF, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House Charities and has been featured on ESPN, USA TODAY, Fox Sports, MSNBC, Sports Illustrated and Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Prior to joining PLEDGE IT, he co-founded Gun.io, an online hiring marketplace where companies find the world’s best freelance software developers.
In 2015, he received a Graduate Certificate in Sports Philanthropy from George Washington University. JohnPaul is also a volunteer with: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Project Share Food Bank, United Cerebral Palsy, Habitat for Humanity, and Turn the Pages Foundation.
Nick LoGalbo has worked at Lane Tech High School as an English teacher, assistant athletic director, and the head boys’ basketball coach since 2005. He is also the 3x3 regional coordinator for USA Basketball.
After his cousin was shot and severely wounded in October of 2014, he decided he was going to turn a negative into a positive and use his cousin’s strength and determination as inspiration. He worked with Joakim Noah’s foundation, The Noah’s Arc Foundation, to put together a #chicagostandup rally to end gun violence. The rally is now an annual rally and it has enabled LoGalbo to work closely with other peace agents in Chicago. LoGalbo is also involved in the #rockyourdrop movement through NAF. The campaign was featured on billboards across Chicago and the PSA included the likes of Joakim Noah, Spike Lee, Matt Forte, and others standing for peace.
After another senseless murder on the streets of Chicago in April of 2015, LoGalbo banned with Chicago Public League coaches and is a member of the Coaches United Against Violence committee that consists of several coaches from around the Chicago Public League working to use basketball as a tool to empower athletes to be leaders.
positive coaching alliance
Tai Duncan is Executive Director of the Chicago Chapter of national youth sports nonprofit organization, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), and a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois. Tai joined PCA in 2015, following a successful legal and business career, including serving as Assistant Corporation Counsel at the City of Chicago Department of Law in the Labor Division, Executive Director of the Black Corporate Directors Conference and Director of Corporate Affairs in the Office of the Chief Executive Officer of Ariel Investments, and as an independent business and legal consultant for sports and fitness companies. A native Chicagoan, Tai is a graduate of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where she also served as Head Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach for five seasons before joining Flow Basketball Academy as an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Girls’ Basketball Coach and Basketball Skills Trainer.
Tai is Immediate Past President of the Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Junior Board, Treasurer and Founding Board Member of The Hoops Class Foundation, and a member of B.I.G. Baseball Academy's Advisory Board. Her past board service includes serving on the Board of Directors for The Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation and the Lookingglass Theatre Company. Tai is a 2016 recipient of the WNBA Chicago Sky’s #RedefinePossible Women’s Leadership Award, and was chosen as one of “Philanthropy’s Next Wave”: new generation of givers and gala-goers by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2013.
Aaron joined the NFL League Office in 2015 where he first served as a Project Assistant for the Commissioner’s staff. He created a database for NFL personnel who served as Committee Members from the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to present day. After completing the project, he joined the Player Engagement Department where he assists with career development and educational programs for current and former players such as the Personal Finance and Broadcast Boot Camp, as well as managing the Player Engagement website.
Prior to joining the NFL Office, he worked with the New York Giants Public Relations Department as a seasonal intern where he was responsible for helping construct the weekly press releases and coordinating interviews between players and media. Aaron was a scholarship recipient for the first annual MLB Diversity Business Summit in Chicago. Soon after he accepted a position with the Philadelphia Phillies as a Ticket Service Representative.
Currently, Aaron is enrolled in George Washington University’s Sports Philanthropy Executive Certification Program and a member of the New York Urban League’s Educational Policy Committee. Most recently, Aaron founded Visionary Companies Group, which is the parent company of VCG Sports. VCG Sports focuses on aligning athletes with non-profit organizations to leverage their influence in communities on various social issues. Aaron graduated from Delaware State University in 2014 where he received his Bachelors degree in Sports Management.
Experienced branding expert, publicist, community events executive and philanthropist, Jerica has a proven track record in driving innovative communication and public relations strategies for professional athletes and non-profit organizations. She has demonstrated success in improving brand image accomplished through planning, strategic thought leadership, developing charitable initiatives and event execution.
While continuing to contribute to the philanthropic efforts of her clients, Jerica extends her community reach through sport serving as founder of Live4Gen. After losing her childhood friend and basketball teammate to breast cancer in 2013, Jerica founded the organization dedicated to raising breast cancer awareness while honoring her point guard, Genevieve Costello. Live4Gen hosts an annual charity basketball game in honor of Gen while raising awareness and funds to assist, create, launch and fortify women's health education and resources in the community. Since 2013, Live4Gen has raised close to $10,000 in charitable contributions.