The Pittsburgh Penguins are more than just a professional hockey team. They’re an anchor for a city reeling after the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue that killed 11 and injured six.
Shortly after the tragedy, the city launched their “Stronger Than Hate” campaign, and the Penguins, their fans and corporate partners kicked fundraising efforts into overdrive.
On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation donated $348,705 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to benefit victims and families of the Tree of Life Synagogue, and provide recovery support for the community.
To raise the money, the team’s foundation hosted an auction, with game-worn jerseys autographed by players bearing the “Stronger Than Hate” patch up for grabs. They also held a collection at their Oct. 30 game, and made a special text-to-donate option available. For people who didn’t want to partake in the auction for a jersey, they could choose to donate $20 and receive a Stronger Than Hate patch identical to the ones on players’ jerseys.
To boost the total even more, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation donated $100,000 to the cause, and partners GNC and Wendell August Forge also made financial donations.
The Penguins aren’t done either. They will be donating $200,000 to the city’s newly-created Public Safety Support Trust Fund to honor the police, fire, medic and public safety personnel who responded to the scene.
In lieu of their annual Halloween party, the team also hosted a blood drive.
At the request of @VitalantPA, and in response to Saturday’s tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, the Penguins will hold a blood drive on Monday from 9:00AM – 3:00PM at PPG Paints Arena. Details: https://t.co/s76l6MnKdt pic.twitter.com/xaExlTIdqX
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 28, 2018
“The Pittsburgh Penguins join the greater Pittsburgh community in standing up against this senseless violence and supporting the victims and families of the Tree of Life Synagogue,” David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins said in a statement.
“Under these circumstances, we determined it was not appropriate to continue with our annual Halloween theme on Tuesday, so those activities have been canceled,” he added. “The entire city has a heavy heart.”
The Penguins are still selling $20 limited-edition Stronger Than Hate patches with all proceeds going to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. You can place your order through the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.