As we head into the new year, we reflect on 2023, a year full of excitement and growth for Team IMPACT. In addition to our annual Game Day Gala in Boston, we proudly hosted two signature regional events in Los Angeles and Philadelphia for the very first time. These events brought together almost 500 donors, program participants, and supporters who together raised crucial funds needed to provide the Team IMPACT experience to more than 50 matches and further Team IMPACT’s footprint in these cities and beyond.
In October, hundreds of guests gathered at the Riviera Country Club for a night of impact at IMPACT LA, the first Team IMPACT event of its kind. Throughout the evening, attendees heard heartfelt stories from program participants and raised funds to bring Team IMPACT to dozens of kids, families, and teams nationwide and establish deeper roots in our West region.
The speakers were powerful, stories told memorable, and IMPACT widespread. In his speech, Sergio Brown, University of Southern California Director of Player Development, shared the impact the USC baseball team match, Brandon, has had on the team. “We were 9-1 when Brandon was in our dugout, so in this results-oriented world, we got wins—but we got way more than wins. We found our team. Brandon, he helped us find a team, and he’s a part of that. He did way more for us than we did for him.”
In addition to Coach Brown, guests heard from Jacob Orlick, a program alum matched with the University of Pennsylvania men’s basketball team, and Kristen Stiles, whose daughters Lucy and Sophie are part of Boston College women’s lacrosse. University of California, Los Angeles Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director Josh Rebholz accepted the west region’s Collegiate Community IMPACT Award on behalf of UCLA Athletics, reinforcing the Bruins’ dedication to the program and commitment to continue making an impact across the region.
A special thanks to our IMPACT LA hosts Tony Pritzker, Josh Gold, Jason Lublin, Darren Menaker, Alison Myers, Alicia Tranen and Dave Leyrer, and Will and Ali Wyatt, whose constant and consistent support of our program have helped us reach new heights across the west region. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Pritzker Group; our Champion Sponsors, PIMCO and Will and Ali Wyatt; and our All-Star Sponsors, Alliance Bernstein, Kirkland & Ellis, Nancy and Jeff Lazkani of Icon Media Direct, Inc., and Venbrook Group. Without your support, nights like IMPACT LA would not be possible.
The momentum from the success of IMPACT LA rippled across the country, where just a month later the city of Philadelphia hosted its own night of IMPACT. Our first ever IMPACT Philly event raised awareness and critical funds to get more kids in the game and honored Philadelphia’s BIG 5 schools. Alongside representatives from Drexel University, La Salle University, the University of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph’s University, Temple University, Villanova University, and schools from across the Mid-Atlantic, guests and supporters celebrated the unprecedented growth of Team IMPACT in this region.
Throughout the night, more than 250 attendees heard inspiring words from event host and Presenting Sponsor Brad Korman and Team IMPACT Regional Executive Director Josh Walker, who shared the importance of Team IMPACT’s mission while emphasizing the power of the program. Guests also got to hear incredible stories and perspectives from Penn men’s basketball’s Jacob Orlick; University of Pennsylvania softball student-athlete, Team IMPACT Fellow, and 2022 Team IMPACT Teammate of the Year, Madi Bauerle; and Kaitlin Westhoff, the mother of Adie and Elwood, who are both matched at Villanova.
Shortly after Kaitlin’s daughter Adie was matched with Villanova softball, her son Elwood found his perfect match with the Villanova men’s soccer team. After sharing her family’s unique and powerful experience in our program, Kaitlin tearfully thanked the Team IMPACT community for changing her family for the better. “What you do changes lives, and my family and I could not be more grateful. My hope is that more families like mine get the chance to join a team, and it’s because of people like you who make that possible.”
We look forward to another year full of the IMPACT that has allowed Team IMPACT to become a nation-wide program and change the lives of thousands of children, teams, families, athletic departments, and supporters across every region. There are so many ways the Team IMPACT community shows up for one another, and to each one of you—we thank you.