The Columbus Crew and Crew Soccer Foundation work to keep at-risk children in bounds

Mark McCullers, president and general manager of the Columbus Crew and president of the Crew Soccer Foundation Board of Directors

Medical Mutual 2011 Pillar Award
for Community Service — Columbus
CVS Samaritan Award

The Columbus Crew organization does not confine its efforts to the soccer field. Rather, with the efforts of its charitable arm, the Crew Soccer Foundation, the players, coaches and front-office staff work to help make central Ohio a better place, with particular focus on children in economically challenged areas of Columbus and the surrounding area.

With long-standing relationships with community organizations that concentrate on the areas of education, health and recreation and assisting young people in at-risk areas, the Columbus Crew supports many worthy causes.

Under Mark McCullers, president and general manager and president of the Crew Soccer Foundation Board of Directors, the organizations support agencies such as TopSoccer, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Recreation Unlimited, Easter Seals, St. Stephen’s Community House Holiday Drive and Faith Mission.

Since the team’s inaugural season in 1996, it has made donations such as event sponsorships, signed memorabilia, merchandise and tickets. Just in 2011 alone, more than 3,500 worthy causes received donations, totaling $366,481.

But it doesn’t stop there. To expose at-risk children to soccer, the team visits Columbus area public schools to introduce students to the game of soccer and its recreational benefits and to tell about the value of teamwork and good character. Members also focus on the dangers of bullying and the importance of staying in school.

The foundation has been working to develop a mini-field at Crew Stadium to provide a recreational outlet for kids in economically-depressed areas of Columbus, with a focus on youth from the nearby Linden community.

The Crew and the Crew Soccer Foundation support the U.S. Soccer Foundation Passback program by donating, collecting and distributing new and gently used soccer equipment. Last year’s efforts including donations of more than 4,000 items to Kids Inner-City Development Soccer, the Near East Inner-City Youth Soccer Program, and youth in Haiti, Central America and Africa. In addition, 50 boxes of soccer gear were donated to the U.S. Armed Forces to Iraqi villages in need.

How to reach: Columbus Crew/Crew Soccer Foundation, (614) 447-4175 or www.thecrew.com

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