The Carolina Panthers surprised representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Upstate with the fourth annual Carolina Panthers Charities Fan Gift at the Oakland Raiders game on December 23.
Each year, the team surprises a regional non-profit with the Fan Gift, which is given in recognition of Panthers fans and the collective philanthropic and volunteer impacts they make in their communities throughout North and South Carolina. The Fan Gift grant amount of $73,778 represents the number of seats in Bank of America Stadium. BBBS of Greater Charlotte and BBBS Upstate will split the grant award evenly.
Bigs and Littles from both BBBS of Greater Charlotte and BBBS Upstate were on hand to enjoy the popular Fuel Up to Play 60 Kids Combine on the team's practice fields before the game when team president Danny Morrison arrived for the surprise presentation. Morrison was joined by TopCats cheerleaders, PurrCussion drum line, Sir Purr and PSL holder Carrie Keuten, who represented all Panthers fans.
"When you consider the collective philanthropic power of Panthers fans who are in the stadium on game day, it's significant," said Panthers director of community relations Riley Fields. "Fans have always been generous with their support of the team's philanthropic efforts, so the Fan Gift is one way we can honor our fans and thank them for all they do to serve the community through their own individual efforts.
"This year, we are pleased to support the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters and their important mentoring programs. Our hope is that the Fan Gift will provide BBBS with critical funding that will enhance the opportunities for new, shared experiences for Bigs and Littles, which are an important part of the Big-Little relationship."
Past recipients include the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (2009), Special Olympics of North Carolina and Special Olympics of South Carolina (2010), and Make A Wish of Central and Western North Carolina (2011).