Marvin Lewis Community Fund enters its 10th year
Marvin Lewis is in his 10th season as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, the third longest tenure in the National Football League (NFL) behind only Bill Belichick (New England) and Andy Reid (Philadelphia).
Lewis is already the all time winningest coach in Bengals team history. His impact, however, goes well beyond the football field and has reached far into the Greater Cincinnati community.
Of 122 active head coaches or managers in the four major professional sports leagues (NFL, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League), Lewis is the only one to serve as chairman of the Board of Directors for a charity or foundation in his name in the same community for this long a period of time.
MLCF officials estimate that Lewis has made 400 appearances in the community and the MLCF has affected roughly 450,000 individuals since its inception. In 2009, the MLCF received the Steve Patterson Award for excellence in Sports Philanthropy.
“In addition to the goal of being a successful coach in the National Football League, I have always wanted to be in a position to better the community in which I coached, specifically helping children who don’t have the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else – for whatever reason,” Lewis said.
“I have been fortunate to have talented and smart people working for the Marvin Lewis Community Fund, great support from Mike Brown and the Bengals, and tremendous support from the Greater Cincinnati community. It takes a team like that to make a difference.”
The MLCF holds annual fundraising events such as Football 101, the Marvin Lewis Golf Classic and Cincinnati Scurry and plans and executes several outreach programs, including Learning Is Cool, Hometown Huddle, Marvin Lewis Coach of the Year Award, Marvin Lewis Youth Football Camp and the Marvin Lewis Scholarship Fund. Learning Is Cool and the Marvin Lewis Scholarship Fund are the highest impact programs for individuals.
The recipient organizations from 2004 to 2007 were: The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, Boys Hope Girls Hope Cincinnati, Cruisin’ for a Cure, Minorities in Mathematics, Science & Engineering (M2SE), National Multiple Sclerosis Society, ProScan Pink Ribbon Center in Over-the- Rhine, Success By 6, Youth Inc.
“Coach Lewis has inspired more children to do well in school than he can imagine,” said Dawn Grady, marketing & community relations manager at Cincinnati Public Schools. “Tens of thousands of students have strived to make the ‘A’ Honor Roll because of the chance to meet Bengals coaches and players and, in some cases, to not let down Coach Lewis.”
Among its programs, the MLCF provides youth football grants that purchase helmets for inner-city programs. Lewis’ free annual football camp brings 200 to 300 kids to Paul Brown Stadium for three nights, during which Lewis is constantly present.
“ProCamps runs over 70 camps all over the country,” chief operating officer Andy Danner said. “Marvin is as involved and engaged as any athlete or coach we work with. “We need more people like Marvin around town,” said Jack Cassidy, president & CE0 of Cincinnati Bell and a founding member of the Marvin Lewis Community Fund Board of Directors. “When you’re in a room with him and you see the kind of effect he has on people, you can’t help but be proud that he’s part of our community.’’
Many scholarship recipients would have been unable to attend college without the assistance of the MLCF.
“Marvin Lewis gave me a chance,” says Waly Reyes, a 2006 scholarship recipient and a graduate of Reading High School and Ohio State University. “I am the first in my family to earn a college degree. I have a great job with Deloitte and now I own my own home. “I would not be where I am today without Coach Lewis’ support. It has had a greater impact on my life than he will ever know.”
For more information or to donate to the Marvin Lewis Community Fund, go to http:// marvinlewis.org