Jimmy Valvano’s Legacy

By, Scott Mittleman

Co Founder SF Fun Raisers

I’ve been writing about sports and non-profits teaming up to make a different and this week provides one of the greatest examples of that. December 2nd – December 8th is Jimmy V week on ESPN.

The passion and inspiration that it takes to succeed in anything is what made Jimmy Valvano a sports legend and a leader in the fight against Cancer. He knew that he couldn’t win the fight against cancer but started the V foundation before he died so that the future may hold a cure for cancer. At the 1993 Espy’s in his emotional acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage award he announced the creation of the V Foundation, by saying “We need money for research. It may not save my life. It may save my children’s lives. It may save someone you love.”

Like many non-profits the V Foundation started off extremely small and on a shoestring budget. It was Jimmy’s closest friends, family and ESPN that helped initiate the major impact it has had on cancer research over the last 15 years. The foundation has continued Jimmy V’s vision by running the organization with true passion and dedication that he started it with.

In past articles I’ve talked about the difficulties athletes face when starting their own non-profits. They can all look to the V foundation for how to get organized and generate the support needed to run a successful non-profit. One individual can make a huge difference by spreading their passion and than others will join the fight.

No matter what type of non-profit you choose to support we can all make a difference. However you lend your support goes a long way to spreading the idea of philanthropy and helping others. I hope my up-coming posts will get you in the mood to give back this holiday season.

Jimmy V ESPY Awards Speech