The Miami Heat has always been well known around the NBA and locally amongst Miamians for being a very classy organization. They aren't strangers to doing good things for their community and for several years have been doing them through a specific foundation known as the Miami Heat Charitable Fund. This way there are many different groups and events that fans and companies can participate in and make donations while having fun with the players, coaches and executives of the Miami Heat.
The charitable fund operates all their activities under the following mission statement:
Established in 1997, the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund supports programs for the betterment of at-risk families in South Florida. Beneficiaries include SafeSpace, a domestic violence shelter for women and children, the Jackson Memorial Foundation's Guardian Angels and Holtz Children's Hospital, and the Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community.
The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund also provides educational scholarships for high school seniors and partners with inner-city elementary schools to fund the HEAT Academy, which provides after-school tutoring and mentoring programs. Through these initiatives, the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund continues to inspire the youth of South Florida to envision their dreams and achieve their goals.
One of my favorite programs that the Heat Charitable Fund runs is called ‘Home Strong'. It finds ways to help out our men and women in uniform that return home to South Florida after serving time in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also honors a couple soldiers before most Heat home games, bringing them out on the court and having a member of the team present them with a welcome home gift while the crowd gives them a nice ovation.
There are also several annual events that are favorites among Miami fans, such as the Heat Scramble Golf Classic which lets fans hit the links with some of their favorite current and former Heat players. There is also the Heat Celebrity Cook-off which takes place at a Benihana restaurant and lets fans have a Heat player be their personal hibachi chef for the evening.
Then there is the Miami Heat Family Festival which is one of the biggest charity events of the year. It's described as a ‘themed, interactive, carnival-like celebration' that lets fans and their families come together and have a great time playing games and eating delicious food. A bevy of some of the better restaurants in South Florida come together and create one of the best tented food courts that you'll ever see. Heat players, coaches and members of the media act as staff throughout the event at all the different games and rides that the fans can enjoy, and just like with everything else that the foundation hosts, all the proceeds go to some much needed local charities.
For more information on the Miami Heat Charitable Fund you can click here, but that is just one of many different ways that the organization gives back to the community. They have a ‘Learn To Swim' event, a basketball camp, several different educational programs and scholarships and much much more. You can go to the Heat website's special section dedicated to all their community work and see everything that they do, but any fan of the team can tell you how much class and dedication this franchise has and how much they have done and will continue to do for South Florida.