Westport, Connecticut Yesterday, during the America East Conference Basketball Championship, Newman's Own Foundation unveiled the top three grant recipients of its first-ever Campus Community Service Challenge.  Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in connection with University of Vermont's Campus Kitchen received the top grant of $25,000.  Best Buddies Connecticut working with University of Hartford's Best Buddies chapter received $15,000.  $10,000 was awarded to The River Coalition in partnership with University of Maine's Black Bear Mentors.  In total, over $100,000 was awarded to nonprofits throughout the tournament. 

The Newman's Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge was developed to foster social good on the America East Conference campuses and in surrounding communities.  One student group, chosen from each of the America East's nine member universities, participated on behalf of its affiliated nonprofit for a Newman's Own Foundation grant. 

"A priority of the Foundation is to encourage the practice of philanthropy among as broad a population as possible," said Bob Forrester, president of Newman's Own Foundation.  "We thought bringing this challenge to America East Conference campuses would be a good way to seed future leadership with these ideals.  The responses from the universities have demonstrated that the cornerstone for philanthropy is already solidly in place at these institutions.  In fact, these students represent the next generation of leadership."

To implement the challenge among college students, the Foundation partnered with the America East Conference to identify a leading, service-focused student group at each member university who is closely affiliated with a nonprofit.  The grant decisions were based on:

  • The level of the student group's involvement with its affiliated nonprofit, and the degree to which that involvement reflects Paul Newman's philanthropic spirit of creativity and commitment.
  • The actual mission and programs of the nonprofit, the populations and purposes it serves, and the impact the Foundation's grant would have on them.

The applications of the nine student group/non-profit pairings were reviewed and grants recommended by the Challenge's Selection Panel.  Leaders in philanthropy and social activism, the judges were:

  • Rebecca Lobo, basketball analyst for ESPN and former player in the Women's National Basketball Association
  • John Marshall, former president of The Kresge Foundation
  • Ryan Scott, CEO and founder of Causecast

After reviewing the proposals, Newman's Own Foundation was so impressed by the quality of each of them that it decided to increase all Honorable Mention grants fifty percent, from $5,000 to $7,500.  Receiving these grants were:

  • University at Albany

Students of Albany Against Cancer on behalf of American Cancer Society

  • Binghamton University

Colleges Against Cancer on behalf of A Room to Heal

  • Boston University

Winter Outreach on behalf of Phoenix of New Orleans, Inc.

  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Project HEALTH at UMBC on behalf of Project HEALTH, Inc.

  • University of New Hampshire

Students Athlete Advisory Committee on behalf of Club Chameleon

  • Stony Brook University

Alternative Spring Break Outreach (ASBO) on behalf of SUNY Research Foundation at Stony Brook University for ASBO

"A major educational component at all of our nine universities is to encourage our students to get involved in their communities and give back their time whenever possible," said America East Commissioner Patrick Nero. "To have a partner such as Newman's Own Foundation reinforces this value to our students. The Foundation's donations will have a meaningful impact in all nine of our communities and for this we are tremendously thankful."

Designed to instill the value of philanthropy among younger generations, the Challenge also featured "charity stripe shootouts" throughout the tournament.  University students, selected from the crowd, played to win $1,000 for a local charity of choice.  In total, $7,000 was awarded to nonprofits per the recommendations of these students. Cheering them on at each game were young people from Hartford-area nonprofits, attending with ticket blocks made available to the America East through a grant from Newman's Own Foundation.   

"Challenges like this one led by Newman's Own Foundation encourages students and solidifies our philanthropic drive," said Liz Schindler, club coordinator of The Campus Kitchen at University of Vermont.  "Not only will we give back today, but we are inspired to continue after graduation."

To learn more about the challenge and the nine student group/non-profit pairings, please visit

Newman's Own Foundation (

Paul Newman was committed to helping make the world a better place. To carry on his philanthropic legacy, Newman's Own Foundation donates all net royalties and profits after taxes it receives from the sale of Newman's Own products to charity. To date, Paul Newman and Newman's Own Foundation have given over $285 million to thousands of charities around the world.

About America East (

Since its beginning as a men's basketball conference in 1979, America East has evolved into one of the most comprehensive NCAA Division I conferences with 20 championship sports serving more than 3,000 student-athletes. Supporting the missions of its nine member institutions - Albany, Binghamton, Boston University, Hartford, Maine, UMBC, New Hampshire, Stony Brook and Vermont - America East is committed to developing champions in academics, athletics and leadership.

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