With the help of employees, sports leagues, the corporate community and more donations from sports fans than ever before, ESPN’s 14th annual V Week raised more than $6.7 million for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Donations from individuals were up 55 percent, for more than $1.5 million.
“During this year’s V Week, we highlighted the fact that people of color are disproportionately affected by cancer,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “But thanks to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund and new initiatives with Alpha Phi Alpha and our first-ever Equity in Health panel, I am hopeful and optimistic that we are working towards improving the health outcomes for minority communities.”
“ESPN continues to be an exceptional partner in the fight against cancer,” said Shane Jacobson, CEO of the V Foundation. “We are proud to work alongside this incredible team to address the problem of disparities. Our goal is to make a meaningful impact against one of the most urgent cancer challenges our nation is facing, and we are grateful for ESPN’s leadership and support.”
This year, ESPN engaged new partners and created innovative fundraising and awareness-building campaigns and promotions which educated fans on the importance of cancer research, particularly in support of communities of color, including these new initiatives:
- “Give and Go” with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – For the first time, ESPN, together with the V Foundation and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. launched a new initiative to honor Stuart Scott, a beloved Alpha Brother who passed away after a hard fought cancer battle. The “Give and Go to Fight Cancer” campaign encouraged donations in multiples of $19.06, to highlight the establishment of Alpha Phi Alpha in 1906.
- Equity in Health Presented by The Undefeated – This insightful discussion featured insights from the Washington Football Team President Jason Wright, actor on ABC’s The Good Doctor Hill Harper, V Scholar Francine Garrett-Bakelman and V Foundation Board Member and former NCAA basketball player Dereck Whittenburg. The group discussed the importance of combating disparities in cancer research, lack of clinical trial participation from minority communities, personal stories, and how to promote healthy practices and early cancer detection in minority communities.
- The Stuart Scott Initiative — From Dec. 4 to 6, ESPN featured content showcasing Stuart’s love of life and perseverance through his fight with cancer and his consistent message to “never give up.” Additionally, more than 4,500 special “Boo-yah” branded t-shirts were sold to raise funds for the Stuart Scott Fund, which encourages cutting-edge research for African Americans, Hispanics and other minority populations suffering from cancer. For every shirt sold, Threadless and TSC Miami, the t-shirt providers, donated $25 to the V Foundation.
- Fight Like Hell Night — UFC dedicated its event on Dec. 5 to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund and featured Stuart Scott-related content throughout the night. Scott had a strong connection to mixed martial arts and trained during his treatments. UFC also generously donated $100K, and their athletes and UFC continued to promote the campaign and Boo-yah t-shirts throughout the month of December to raise awareness and contributions for the Fund.
Over the past 14 years, V Week fundraising has totaled more than $46 million for cancer research. V Week is one of the two major fundraisers that ESPN conducts for the V Foundation each year. During the initiative, ESPN utilizes its platforms to talk to sports fans about the importance of cancer research. To date, ESPN has helped raise more than $134 million dollars for the V Foundation.
About the V Foundation for Cancer Research
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The V Foundation has funded more than $250 million in game-changing cancer research grants nationwide through a competitive process strictly supervised by a world-class Scientific Advisory Committee. Because the V Foundation has an endowment to cover administrative expenses, 100% of direct donations is awarded to cancer research and programs. The V team is committed to accelerating Victory Over Cancer®. To learn more, visit v.org.
About ESPN Corporate Citizenship
ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplift the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information go to www.espn.com/citizenship.
Contact: Olivia Wilson at (904) 303-3538; [email protected]; @livcwilson