Big33 Foundation is shutting down, Game Will Continue
Written by: Billy Splain on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
Citing declining donations to the charity which have created an insurmountable debt, the governing Board of Directors of the Big33 foundation unanimously voted to formally dissolve the organization. Just several weeks ago, the foundations executive director Dave Trimbur passed away suddenly.
“We no longer have the capacity and resources to continue operating the Big 33 organization,” said Jeanne DeDay, president of the foundation. “The Board of Directors and staff will work with community partners to explore opportunities to pass on the organization’s spirit, notably the program for persons with special needs known as “the Buddies,” award academic scholarships to outstanding students that meet the qualifications and the super bowl of high school all-star annual Big 33 football game. The game would be celebrating its 60th year anniversary in 2017. We are currently in discussions with another undisclosed organization to continue the game and now are optimistic it will survive.” DeDay noted.
We are taking time during the transition to consciously show our deep appreciation for everyone that ensured that the game and the Buddies program and the academic scholarship program enjoyed a robust and huge impact on literally thousands of individuals over the years. We particularly want to cast the spotlight on the long serving and loyal staff, host families, event volunteers, donors, vendors and local media.
We congratulate the academic scholarship recipients and the long list of outstanding athletes, many of whom went on to play professionally in the Super Bowl. We are also quite proud of the scholarship recipients and players who have become distinguished citizens in communities across the country. In many instances, doing the right thing is the hardest thing to do…and this is one of them.
The Big 33 Foundation was established 59 years ago and raised money for scholarships and other various charitable organizations. One of the most notable programs was the famed “Buddy Program” which features special needs kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Buddy program was started in 1985 and was designed to partner a special needs child with a Big 33 or Big 26 athlete (baseball).
According to Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) Executive Director, Garry Cathell, this year’s game (the 60th, which currently is slated to be held on Memorial Day Weekend) will be organized by the PSFCA, now the owner of the game. “We will continue the high integrity and many aspects of the game such as buddies and cheerleaders programs. We will keep the game in Dauphin County but we have not confirmed a date or the location as of this time. We are also investigating June 10 and 17. There is no guarantee the game will be held at Hershey but negotiations with HERCO are ongoing. An official date and location will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.
The selection process for both teams will continue as always. Teams will be selected Feb 8 and both teams will be released Feb 10 during convention. This years Maryland team is also expected to be released the same day.
There has never been a Super Bowl played without at least 1 former player from the Big33 Game and this year that streak will continue as every team left in the NFL playoffs has a former player of the Big33 on their roster.
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