These Devils are angels
The New Jersey Devils usually host a Salvation Army Day at a home game each year. That was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, a longtime supporter of The Salvation Army, has formed the Devils Youth Foundation, a non-profit to support youth and diversity in hockey, music, education, and sports throughout the state.
“We are extremely proud to announce the launch of Devils Youth Foundation, which realigns our focus to support youth initiatives in the city of Newark and throughout New Jersey’s underserved communities,” said Foundation Chair Allison Blitzer.
“The mission of the Devils Youth Foundation, to inspire and empower youth, is driven by our commitment to generate positive, lasting, and meaningful change in the communities where our teams live, work, and play,” said Blitzer. “Using our wide-ranging platforms of hockey, sports, music, and entertainment, we will seek to raise awareness and funds to positively impact programs covering meal assistance, health and wellness, educational support, music resources, diversity, and inclusion.”
A winning strategy
In a prepared release, the Devils organization said the goal in forming the foundation is to inspire youth through the power of sports and entertainment. The newly named foundation, in conjunction with team owner Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, will unite the Devils and Prudential Center’s fundraising initiatives, signature events, and long-standing grassroots campaigns.
In this past year alone, the Devils provided more than $350,000 in philanthropic and programmatic support to dozens of nonprofit organizations, including The Salvation Army.
The New Jersey Devils organization, which has won three Stanley Cup trophies since arriving in the Garden State in 1982, has a long history of helping the community.
A 50/50 chance
Nemin Jaya, director of administration for the Salvation Army’s Newark Area Services, said the Devils hold a 50/50 raffle at a home game and donate the money to The Salvation Army once a year. A cancellation happened in 2020 because of COVID-19.
“Every year, they gave us a day at one of their home games,” Jaya said. “We do a Salvation Army Day. It’s usually always around December. We have kettles and a band there.
“In the past 5 years, we have received approximately $60,000 through the New Jersey Devils partnership.”
Ron Waiksnoris, resource development manager for The Salvation Army’s New Jersey Division, said the money from the 50/50 raffles “went directly into Christmas kettle income and was used accordingly.”
Waiksnoris said the Devils have also supported the Salvation Army’s Ironbound Boys and Girls Club by providing tickets to hockey games and by having players visit the club in Newark.
Jaya called the creation of the Devils Youth Foundation an “awesome” development.
A positive impact
The Devils said signature fundraising events, such as former goalie Martin Brodeur’s “MB30” Charity Golf Invitational, will help raise money for the foundation, along with 50/50 raffles at home games and online auctions of autographed jerseys, helmets, branded merchandise, apparel sales, and one-of-a-kind experiences.
The organization has also provided hundreds of coats and toys and thousands of pounds of food for people in need.
A statement released from the team said, “The Devils partnership with local and regional philanthropic organizations over the past decade has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands. The launch of the Devils Youth Foundation is the latest step on the road to a better Jersey.”
by Robert Mitchell
For more information on the Devils Youth Foundation or to donate, go to DevilsYouthFoundation.org.