Via the Orlando Magic:
The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard was named the 2010-2011 winner of the Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award (CEA) Saturday night at the 21st Annual OMYF Black Tie & Tennies Gala Presented by FAIRWINDS Credit Union held at the Amway Center. This marks the fifth time and fourth consecutive year Howard has won the award (2004-05, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11). Other finalists for the award included Ryan Anderson, Chris Duhon and J.J. Redick.
Each year at the Gala, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) honors a player who has dedicated his efforts off the court for the purpose of enhancing others’ lives. An anonymous panel of external representatives selects the player. In addition to receiving the award, the player is granted $50,000 from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation to donate to the charity of his choice.
Howard has consistently volunteered his time off the court and to the Central Florida community supporting the initiatives of the Magic’s community relations department, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and the NBA. Highlights of his community involvement for the 2010-11 season include:
- Through his D12 Foundation, presented checks totaling $70,000 to four local non-profit organizations as part of his “Gifts from the Heart” Valentine’s day caravan. He also made visits to each organization throughout the day.
- For the second consecutive year, as part of his 2010 CEA Award donated $25,000 to the BETA Center to support the newly developed “Dwight Howard Learning Center” at BETA. Howard also visited the residents at the house. The learning center is a newly designed program that incorporates innovative activities to empower teen moms to achieve academic and vocational success.
- Donated $25,000 of his 2010 CEA Award money to “Blessings in a Backpack” to provide children from Lake Como Elementary with a nutritious meal on the weekends. Howard also made a visit to Lake Como to help “stuff” the backpacks with food for the students.
- Donated and distributed Thanksgiving meals to over 125 families complete with a turkey and all the trimmings.
- Provided 100 youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida with gift cards and took them on a shopping spree over the holidays.
- Provided 1,900 coats over the holidays to youth from five local non-profit organizations. Took 100 of those youth on a coat shopping spree.
- Active with the Make a Wish program, fulfilling wishes for youth throughout the season before several Magic home games.
- Active with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, serving as an ambassador to assist in their fundraising efforts and meeting with patients from the hospital.
- Participated in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in India and South Africa. The program focuses on education, grassroots basketball development and HIV/AIDS education and advocacy.
- Donated gifts and met with families for the Magic holiday party with underprivileged children and their families.
- Participated in two internal autograph sessions, which helps support Central Florida non-profit organizations by raising money through silent auctions.
- While in Los Angeles for All-Star weekend 2011 participated in a KaBoom! playground build as part of NBA Cares service projects.