At a time when the media are often focused on football players who do something wrong, it’s nice to focus on football players who are doing something right.
Such is the case with Eric Shrive, who was enrolled in one of my marketing classes this spring. He approached me to ask for help with publicizing Lift for Life®.
Lift for Life is an annual strength and conditioning competition for Penn State football players that has become a very successful fundraiser for the Kidney Cancer Foundation through Uplifting Athletes. Last year alone, Lift for Life raised $100,000. Since 2003, Penn State football players have raised nearly $500,000.
Uplifting Athletes is a non-profit organization that started at Penn State in 2003. It describes its mission as “aligning college football teams with rare diseases.” Starting with Penn State, Uplifting Athletes now has chapters at Ohio State, Northwestern, University of Maryland, Kent State University, Princeton, and elsewhere. Each football team has adopted a unique rare disease as the focus of its fundraising efforts. You can learn more about the organization at www.upliftingathletes.org.
Mike Farrell is President of the Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes; Eric Shrive is Vice President. Both are tackles on the Penn State football team. But this spring and summer, they are also tackling a different challenge that goes beyond competing for a spot on the offensive line.
Eric is on a personal mission to raise $15,000 for this year’s campaign. Last year he was the top player fundraiser, achieving a total of $8,500, mostly from friends and family. This year, Eric has set his sights on securing some business support as well.
Eric describes his involvement as a quick path to building leadership skills. Whether it is organizing a charity golf tournament in Scranton, PA., his home town, calling fifteen businesses to get them to donate food, or finding fifteen football players willing to be dunked in a dunk tank during Blue-White Weekend, Eric is committed to getting it done. He is learning numerous business skills along the way that are certain resume builders for an eventual future beyond football.
Fundraising for a football player is not without its obstacles. Eric explained to me how NCAA rules prohibit football players from handling cash. So projects such as canning, so often used as fundraisers at Penn State for charities such as Thon®, are off-limits for players. When Lift for Life did a canning event at Blue-White Weekend, the players recruited their friends and family members to do the canning for them.
The Penn State chapter of Uplifting Athletes is an officially recognized student club at Penn State. Therefore it uses the treasury and banking services of Student Affairs to handle cash management properly. Deloris Brobeck, Penn State’s staff assistant for the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes, provides invaluable support to the football players in achieving compliance with both NCAA and Penn State rules on fundraising.
Penn State freshmen are especially encouraged to get involved with fundraising and organizing for Lift for Life. They are not allowed to participate in the event as freshmen, so fundraising is one way to get them engaged. This year, Eric has initiated a freshman championship award: the freshman who raises the most funds will get a pass from study hall for 2-3 days. Evidently that’s a prize worth working hard for!
The Lift for Life is sure to excite all Penn State football fans who want an early look at the physical acumen of this year’s team. It is THE toughest lift competition of the year for Penn State football athletes, and is impressive to watch. To get a sneak peek as to what it’s like, check out last year’s Lift for Life video on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvR0DRu7IEQ.
And, it is being held this year on Friday July 8, 2011 from 2-7 p.m. That’s one week BEFORE the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.
So if you are thinking about visiting Centre County PA. this summer, this is a good weekend to come! You won’t have to compete with the Arts Festival for a hotel room, and you can start out with a fun event where football athletes compete against one another for bragging rights on who is in the best physical condition.
For a cost of $10 per adult and $5 per child, it’s an affordable event at Penn State’s Holuba Hall that an entire family can enjoy.
And if you can’t make the event itself, but wish to support the football team in this worthy cause, you can make a donation to the Penn State Lift for Life by going to http://www.upliftingathletes.org/ua-chapter/donate-psu.
You can support your favorite athlete in this event, or if you don’t have a favorite, then I am sure that Eric Shrive would appreciate your generosity and support.