To identify and support organizations in Western New York which share our core objectives: serving children and military personnel, caring for the sick, assisting physically and mentally challenged athletes, and supporting youth hockey initiatives. By utilizing financial resources and community influence, the Buffalo Sabres Foundation assists these organizations and their beneficiaries in realizing their highest potential and succeeding in their endeavors.
SABRES COMMUNITY INVESTMENT
The Sabres have partnered with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for a series of initiatives to raise funds and awareness toward cancer research, with a special emphasis on celebrating the life of Sabers legend Dale Hawerchuk, who died following a courageous battle with stomach cancer.
GREEN TEAM MISSION
The Green team initiative is the Buffalo Sabres organizations’ attempt to create programming to help the community to erase their environmental footprint, while simultaneously educating fans on conservation issues.
SABRES FOUNDATION ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Fans of the Buffalo Sabres get an opportunity to play a round of golf with Sabres players, GM, alumni and broadcast personalities. Each four-some of the registers will receive Sabres-themed gifts, as well as lunch and beverages provided for all the golfers on the course. All of the proceeds from the tournament go directly to the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.
BUFFALO SABRES FOUNDATION 50/50 RAFFLE
Each home game of the season, the Buffalo Sabres, as well as the Buffalo Bandits (their affiliate lacrosse team) host a 50/50 raffle where fans can win prize money through a random name drawing system.
53’S DIFFERENCE MAKERS
Jeff Skinner and the Buffalo Sabres are proud to present the 53’s Difference Makers program, which will recognize the important work of Western New York teachers this season. Each selected educator will be Skinner’s special guest at a Sabres game this season and receive four tickets, a donation to his/her school, postgame meet-and-greet with Jeff Skinner, and an autographed jersey.
INTERVIEW WITH RICH JURELLER, VP of Community Relations & President Buffalo Sabres Foundation
Please Introduce yourself and your relationship to the Sabres:
So, my name is Rich Jueller, the VP of community relations for the Sabres. Im also the president of the buffalo Sabres foundation- the teams charitable arm. I’ve been with the team for 15 seasons going on 16, and I started working with the team in August of 2005.
Can you tell me about your role, and some of the tasks you have to work towards, as well as things that you oversee?
Sure, so my role is really divided into close to a 50/50 split. In normal times, half of the role is focused on fundraising, or Sabres Foundation matters which includes fundraising. Obviously, distribution of money, working with our board of directors, and the administrative stuff that comes with that; our foundation does not have any employees; I’m an employee of the Buffalo Sabres, as the day to day work whether its raising the money, or dealing with the admin is handled by Sabres employees. The 50/50 program is the most significant program we do. We do have a number of special events from the Sabres golf tournament, to skills challenge events, etc. Where we raise the money as well as game worn jersey auctions and in arena programs. So a lot of the time we are raising money, there is a good amount of work that goes into it. The other half of the job is really about community outreach and making sure our team and our players are visibly out in the community, or participating in events that support the community; which can be anything from school and hospital visits, or something as significant as our Hockey fights Cancer efforts. Especially as we get into Black History month, ourselves, as well as a lot of teams, are reimagining what we can be doing to support the Black community, and communities of color; a scenario where all teams can improve, especially at the NHL level. We are constantly working to serve as much of our community as we can. We want to make sure we make a real impact in our communities and not just checking off off a box to say we participated in something.
Our Foundation, like most, has a few specific areas of focus. We try and keep it general enough to be able to help a wide variety of people; I think all sports teams, especially at the pro level, have a sense of obligation to their communities. I think there is an expectation in the community that the team will be out doing good things and helping others, so we can’t be too narrow with our focus. Anything to do with children, anything to do with anybody is sick; whether that is cancer or alzheimers, certainly the military, education, and obviously youth sports; in the sense of getting kids physically active. We do have the junior Sabres program, which we help fund, which is more of an elite Hockey Program. However ,we do more work with the disabled hockey programs, and the sled hockey programs, etc. The biggest thing that the foundation has been involved with is on the East side of Buffalo, an old YMCA that we have put investment in, has had the second and third floor of the building transformed into long term housing for what were homeless veterans. We have a program with the VA, and on the first floor we have reopened the community center to the neighborhood which features an indoor swimming pool, a basketball gym upstairs, a ball hockey rink in a park adjacent to the building, the Bills also got a football field for us, and there are more basketball courts. So we are really overseeing all the programming efforts, with over $1,000,000 committed, that is by far more money that we have put anywhere else in the 15 years I’ve been here.
How can an outsider become involved in the efforts of the Buffalo Sabres?
That’s a good questions. We’ve always been very self-sufficient, I think however, what we’re learning, especially with the younger generation is that they do want to be more participatory, whereas my generation, that wasn’t our thing. However, we hear it from young employees, we hear it from young fans. They say “hey, we want to be involved and participate in helping you”, so frankly, it is an area of growth for us. It’s an area to improve, and we try to engage, and create opportunities for people to support us without necessarily volunteering. Here we can say “we’re gonna take the lead on this, and we want the community of Buffalo to join us in the effort. We love having a group of fans who want to get involved and want to give back.