Heisman Trophy Winner Matt Leinart Tops the List of Sports Stars to Participate in Online Celebrity Auction That Benefits Communities In Schools

Lunch With A Leader(TM) Allows Bidders to Choose From a Limited Edition

Autographed Basketball From Earvin 'Magic' Johnson,

Lunch With a NASCAR Driver and More!

Feb 15, 2006, 00:00 ET from Communities In Schools

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- From the front office to the
 playing field, the American sports industry is lending some of its biggest
 names to help kids stay in school. Among the coveted items available are
 lunches with sports celebrities and signed sports memorabilia to be auctioned
 off during the fourth annual Lunch With A Leader(TM) online celebrity auction.
 The auction, which will end at 6:00 p.m. EST on February 20, takes place on
 eBay and will benefit Communities In Schools, the nation's largest dropout
 prevention organization.
     With Lunch With A Leader, there is no reason to wait for next year's
 football season to get in the game. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt
 Leinart is available for bidding along with Atlanta Falcons fullback Justin
 Griffith, all-pro defensive end Chester McGlockton or a Jacksonville Jaguars
 sideline-game experience that includes an opportunity to meet the players,
 have an autograph session and be the ultimate fan.
     "I am excited to partner with Communities In Schools on this auction,
 because I really believe in their cause," says Matt Leinart, Heisman trophy
 winning quarterback, USC.  "To me, education is the most important thing in
 life," he added. In 2005, Leinart proved his commitment to education by
 choosing to complete his senior year at USC, instead of leaving school to be
 drafted by the NFL a year earlier.
     "It is very gratifying to see that so many of today's big names in sports,
 like Matt Leinart, recognize our cause of dropout prevention as one that needs
 to be addressed," says Bill Milliken, founder and vice chairman, Communities
 In Schools. "From hockey to football to basketball, we are thrilled to have
 this level of support for Lunch With A Leader."
     Sports fans can buckle up for a lunch with NASCAR legend Richard Petty or
 current Nextel Cup driver Brian Vickers. Some of the world's best mountain
 climbers are also available for bidding: Christine Boskoff, the leading
 American female alpinist; Phil and Susan Ershler, the only married couple in
 the world to reach the Seven Summits; Danielle Fisher, the youngest climber in
 the world to reach the Seven Summits; Michael Gauthier, the lead climbing
 ranger on Mt. Rainier; Ed Viesturs, the only climber in the world to summit
 the tallest mountain on all seven continents without oxygen; and Jim
 Whittaker, the first American to summit Mt. Everest.
     Bidders can also learn front-office techniques from sports executives like
 Rich Dozer, president of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Peter Magowan, president
 and managing general partner of the San Francisco Giants; Don Waddell, Atlanta
 Thrashers' general manager; or Larry Coker of the Miami Hurricanes, an NCAA
 National Championship winning coach.
     Now in its fourth year, Lunch With A Leader has attracted more than 300
 celebrity leaders who, through their participation, directly impact the lives
 of young people at risk of dropping out. Communities In Schools' 1 percent
 expense ratio ensures that proceeds from the online auction will go directly
 towards helping kids stay in school and prepare for life.
     In addition to these sports stars, singer Alicia Keys, actress Jenna
 Elfman and Starbucks president and CEO Jim Donald have joined such
 personalities as James Carville, Patti LaBelle, Kevin Eubanks, Sam Donaldson,
 Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, ABC
 chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos, and dozens of others in
 support of Communities In Schools.
      Sponsors of this year's Lunch With A Leader include: ICAP(R), Cox
 Communications, Bloomberg, Capital One Financial Corporation, UBS, Comcast
 Corporation, CVS/pharmacy, PT Research, Inc., Fannie Mae Foundation and The
 Washington Times.
     Founded in 1977, Communities In Schools is headquartered in Alexandria,
 Va. Today, nearly one million young people every year receive direct services
 through more than 200 Communities In Schools affiliates in 28 states. For two
 years in a row, Worth magazine named Communities In Schools one of the 100 top
 nonprofits in America.

SOURCE Communities In Schools