Saban extends reach beyond X’s and O’s

This is the second in a series of articles previewing the BCS National Championship game. The first article featured Ara Parseghian’s Medical Research Foundation. Recognizing that turnabout is fair play, this article turns to University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s charity.

 

If you thought Alabama football coach Nick Saban was all about the X’s and O’s, you’d be wrong.

Sure, his job, life, and livelihood depend on how well he makes those X’s and O’s fit together. And his approach has resulted in a 62-13 record at Alabama, with two BCS National Championship trophies in the past three years. But as with any driven, successful person, Saban needs a diversion.

His diversion? Kids. Not kids who will grow up to be Crimson Tide football players. But kids who may need some help just to grow up at all.

Nick and his wife, Terry, started the Nick’s Kids Fund when he was coaching at Michigan State University, and they’ve been keeping the program running strong ever since.  The Nick’s Kids Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting children, family, teacher and student causes. The Nick’s Kids Fund is a part of the Alma Foundation, a 501©(3) non-profit charity.

The Mission Statement is pretty straightforward: To work together in the spirit of faith and giving in our community. To promote and support children, family, teacher, and student causes.
It’s All About the Kids!

You might further think that Saban would be too busy to dedicate much time to this Fund. Again, you’d be wrong. He and his wife help sponsor numerous events throughout the year to benefit the Fund, including a golf tournament, scrimmage events in the spring and the fall, and the annual giveaway luncheon.

Oh, yes – the giveaway luncheon. Just how successful is Saban’s Fund? Well, consider that at this year’s luncheon at Bryant-Denny Stadium, he and Terry handed out more than $415,000 to more than 100 organizations dedicated to serving the needs of children in Alabama.

“We’re really proud of what we’re able to accomplish on a yearly basis for a lot of young people in the state of Alabama, as well as other places in the Southeast,” Saban said at the luncheon. “Nick’s Kids is really not about me. It’s really about extending the legacy of what my dad tried to do to help young people, which my mother always wanted me to try to continue.

“’No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child’, that’s sort of what we built this on.”

Since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, the fund has provided $2.55 million in donations, including more than $1 million to tornado relief.

Additionally, all of the Nick and Terry’s BBQ Sauce and Seasoning profits benefit Nick’s Kids, and through a variety of speaking engagements Saban has been able to donate more than $100,000 to date.

Much like the football program, this isn’t some run-of-the-mill operation. It in fact has a broader scope than initially appears.

Recently, the Fund provided for a new playground on Tuscaloosa’s Riverwalk, built through a partnership with Alabama Forever, the City of Tuscaloosa, Almon Associates, Hammill Recreation, the Junior League of Tuscaloosa, and Mike Chambers to build the playground.

“While walking along Tuscaloosa’s beautiful River Walk I envisioned a place where children could play, get exercise, and enjoy the beauty of the Black Warrior River,” Terry said in a news release. “This playground is a perfect example of what magical things can happen when people work together for the good of others.”

The fund goes beyond helping those in need, too. Nick’s Kids are honoring 22 elementary and middle school teachers who were chosen to receive the organization’s Teacher Excellence Awards. The recipients were nominated by school principals and selected by a Nick’s Kids committee.

For more information on the Nick’s Kids Fund, please visit http://www.nickskidsfund.com/.

 

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