INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- During the past three months, thousands of participants in 42 states served more than 700 charities across the U.S. as part of the 2013 Super Service Challenge. And now, the hard work is paying off – literally – as more than $1 million has been awarded to the charities that benefited from these service projects.
The Super Service Challenge, a nationwide charitable effort started in 2011, partners with Drew Brees' Brees Dream Foundation to encourage companies and organizations to spread a heart of service and win money for a deserving charity.
"The Super Service Challenge is a true example of how small groups of dedicated people can have a big impact. And the impact made by the more than 2,200 teams who participated in this year's Super Service Challenge is something to be celebrated," said Mitch Davis, executive director of the Super Service Challenge.
Winning teams were announced last Thursday, Jan. 9, and 29 major prizes of $10,000 or more were awarded to charities throughout the nation. The top four teams nationwide each received $25,000 for their partner charities along with four grand prize trips to Super Bowl XLVIII.
The Super Service Challenge sponsors the Jan. 31 Super Bowl Breakfast at which the winners' charitable efforts will be recognized. The breakfast also features the presentation of the Bart Starr Award to an NFL player for outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.
"We are thrilled with the success of this year's Challenge and the impact these businesses have made on the not-for-profit community. The funds received by the partner charities will greatly help today, but the relationships formed through the Challenge will help for years to come," added Drew Brees.
The top four teams nationwide and their projects are:
- Astoria Federal Savings for The INN in New York, N.Y. Astoria employees assisted The INN, a not-for-profit serving more than 400,000 meals a year to hungry and homeless Long Islanders, by stocking shelves and organizing food, meeting and greeting guests at the door, and serving a meal to community members in need. "This money will allow us to help even more people at our soup kitchens, long-term housing units and emergency shelters across Nassau and Suffolk counties. Hunger and homelessness affects a staggering number of our community members. Every meal we serve and any shelter we can provide brings us one step closer to our goal of helping our guests become self-sufficient," said Cynthia Sucich, director of communications for The INN.
- Eli Lilly and Company for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful in Indianapolis, Ind. Eli Lilly and Company employees volunteered with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful as part of the company's Global Day of Service. More than 8,000 Lilly employees worked to plant 1,800 trees and 52,000 perennials, spread 1,627 yards of mulch, collect more than 30 yards of recycling, and paint seven murals using 422 gallons of paint. "This money will allow us to create a better environment for the people of our city. It will also allow us to hire more young people through our Youth Tree Team program. These young people go out and care for trees, where our neighbors can't, enriching them as citizens of tomorrow for Indianapolis," said Dave Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.
- Walt Danley Realty for St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix, Ariz. Walt Danley Realty employees volunteered at St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix, packing around 400 emergency food bags. The bags went to anyone in Phoenix who needed them, mainly the working poor and homeless. "This money will allow us to do what we do best. We provide more than food, we provide hope. Last year, we distributed 70 million pounds of food and more than 400,000 emergency food bags. This $25,000 will allow us to put food on the plates of even more hungry Arizonans this year," said Jerry Brown, director of public relations for St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance.
- Wells Fargo for HandsOn Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla. Fifty-eight Wells Fargo employees worked with HandsOn Jacksonville to stuff backpacks with books and toys that would later be delivered to approximately 7,000 children in 14 challenged elementary schools, just in time for the holidays. "This money will allow us to expand our services into neighboring counties, serving more children in need," said Judy Smith, D.M., president and CEO of HandsOn Jacksonville. "We believe that all children deserve to have books of their own, and this money will help make that a reality for more young children in our area."
Teams of Super Service Challenge volunteers identified a deserving charity, conducted a service project benefiting that charity, and then submitted a two-minute video or photo slideshow of their service project via the Super Service Challenge website. A panel of independent judges selected the winning entries. Judging criteria included how the charity was served, how the team would serve the charity moving forward, and how the charity would use the prize money.
This year's notable judges included Super Service Challenge ambassador Drew Brees and Emmy-award winning television and radio host Rita Cosby.
Each winning team's charity will receive a portion of more than $1 million in prize money in the weeks ahead. A complete list and description of each winning project is available at http://cwam.com/super-service-challenge/.
"The Super Service Challenge embodies the spirit of servant leadership that is alive and well throughout our nation," added Davis. "We look forward to continuing to add more teams to the Super Service Challenge and welcome the opportunity for new and expanded partnerships that will help us benefit even more worthy charitable organizations."
About the Super Service Challenge
Founded in 2011 in Indianapolis, Ind., the Super Service Challenge's goal is to spread the mission and message of service across the United States. The nationwide initiative encourages and rewards volunteers from the workplace who come together to serve charities and have an impact in their communities. Participation is open to all who want to serve with a team from their workplace. These teams choose a local charity, serve that charity and then submit a brief, two-minute video or photo presentation of their service on the Super Service Challenge website. Winning teams receive a share of more than $1 million for their charities. In 2013, the Super Service Challenge was led by four major markets that are hosting, or have hosted, the Super Bowl.
Video with caption: "During the past three months, thousands of participants in 42 states served more than 700 charities across the U.S. as part of the 2013 Super Service Challenge. And now, the hard work is paying off – literally – as more than $1 million has been awarded to the charities that benefited from these service projects." Video available at: http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/FX-DE48027-20140116-1.mp4
SOURCE Super Service