"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is
not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy
Now that the holidays are upon us, this is a good time for Fighting Irish fans to think beyond the emotions stirred by the contests on gridiron, and allow ourselves to be stirred by the emotions of charity and giving. Showing enthusiastic support for the University of Notre Dame and its football and athletic programs can transcend cheering in the stadium or in front of the television; and, it can go beyond wearing our "Irish" apparel like badges of honor; or sharing our passion and camaraderie on public Web site forums.
Indeed, passion and enthusiasm can go much further than that, and should.
This holiday season is an ideal time for Notre Dame fans to make a donation (the amount doesn't matter; whatever you can afford) to a worthy charity founded by Ara Parseghian, Lou Holtz, Charlie Weis, and/or Brian Kelly.
Because of their goodwill, compassion and personal experiences, these men have made commitments to use their celebrity and personal resources to benefit others in need. Fortunately, we all have the ability to help; therefore, everyone should endeavor to do so. Financial contributions are particularly needed by these organizations. However, if you can't give money, at the very least, help spread the word about these exemplary causes on fan forums and social networking sites.
While working in the community relations profession, I had the honor and the gratifying experience of working with Parseghian on behalf of his foundation, Holtz on behalf of his annual "Lou Holtz Mask" charity fundraiser while he was the Notre Dame football coach, and with former Notre Dame players like John Lujack, Johnny Lattner, Paul Hornung, and Dave Casper to help raise money for the Boys & Girls Club. I also had the privilege of working with Lou Nanni, Notre Dame Vice President for University Relations, on raising money and awareness for the University-funded Center For The Homeless in South Bend, during the time he was its director. All of these men, and other former athletes and alums, and many other exemplary folks affiliated with Notre Dame, share a common goal and commit acts of kindness every day in sincere efforts to uplift the lives of others - acts of goodwill that we all can emulate.
As we count our blessings this holiday season, consider endowing the less fortunate with your heartfelt support. Join one or more of these Notre Dame coaches' winning teams by making a contribution that will help make a difference in someone's life.
Here is a list and brief overview of worthy nonprofit organizations for which you can show your "Fighting Irish" spirit:
THE ARA PARSEGHIAN MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION
Ara's organization is dedicated to funding medical research projects to find a treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C disease.
Niemann-Pick Type C is a genetic, neurodegenerative disorder which causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system. This metabolic disorder leads to a series of neurological problems that are always fatal...until a treatment is found.
The Parseghian Foundation was initiated by, and it is named in honor of legendary Notre Dame football coach, Ara Parseghian, whose three youngest grandchildren were diagnosed with NP-C in 1994.
"There will be no cure without research and no research without funding." - Ara Parseghian
Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation
3530 E. Campo Abierto, Suite 105
Tucson, Arizona 85718-3327
LOU HOLTZ CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
The Holtz Charitable Foundation, founded by Lou and Beth Holtz, is a grant-making corporation whose mission is to promote Christianity, education, and charity through fund-raising and donations. The Holtz Foundation donates to nonprofits, such as Touching Tiny Lives, which supports children and families that are struggling to cope with the ravages of HIV/AIDS, hunger and other health-related issues in rural Lesotho, South Africa.
The Holtz Foundation’s strong relationship with TTL helps to provide food, medical care, and outreach to children in great need of stabilization and services.
TTL is also supported by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Notre Dame.
"When all is said and done, usually more is said than done." - Lou Holtz
The Holtz Charitable Foundation, Inc.
9209 Cromwell Park Place Orlando, FL 32827
Office: (407) 857-6811
Tax ID#: 35-2042978
LOU'S LADS FOUNDATION
Lou's Lads Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to preserving and supporting the legacy of Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz and his players while providing a platform to provide financial assistance for the educational needs of underprivileged students, as well as support charitable and educational activities and organizations within the communities of its members.
Visit Lou's Web site for more details: www.louslads.com
HANNAH & FRIENDS
Hannah & Friends is a unique residential community located in South Bend, Indiana, for children and adults with special needs. Hannah & Friends was founded by former Notre Dame head coach, Charlie Weis, and his wife Maura, in recognition of their daughter, Hannah, who has been afflicted with developmental disorders.
"Our prayers are that all people with any type of disabilities have a great, full life and be treated with the respect that they deserve..." - Maura & Charlie Weis
Hannah and Friends
51250 Hollyhock Road
South Bend, IN 46637
KELLY CARES FOUNDATION
The Kelly Cares Foundation was established by the Brian and Paqui Kelly family to support organizations and programs that share their goals and values in the prevention of breast cancer, cancer research, education, and community involvement. The Kelly Cares Foundation was inspired by Paqui Kelly's two fights with the disease.
“It’s always been about campus and community and ...her personal affliction with cancer and breast cancer, and beating that.” - Notre Dame Head Football Coach Brian Kelly
Kelly Cares Foundation
P.O. Box 853
Notre Dame, IN 46556