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Philanthropy tournament winner supports PORT Health

Philanthropy tournament winner supports PORT Health

Robert Lyons ’22 March 03, 2020

Every year, the sales and fundraising class in the Department of Sport Management holds a philanthropy tournament in which students pitch community organizations they want to support to a panel of judges.

The tournament takes place in honor of Gary Mioli ’79, who served student-athletes as a football coach in Park Ridge, New Jersey before his unexpected death in 2014. The University Division of Advancement created a fund in Mioli’s name that offers cash prizes for tournament winners to donate to the charity of their choice.

In November 2019, junior Evan Knight had the winning pitch, sharing his support for PORT Health, a North Carolina organization that provides services to help individuals overcome mental health disorders or substance abuse. Knight explained how PORT Health works to improve the health and well-being of others affected. PORT Health believes these difficulties are treatable and services should be affordable, timely and use the best practices and resources available, Knight said.

“I had the chance to make an impact on a community where people’s voices might not have been heard as much,” Knight said. “As a college student, to know I was able to give a $1,000 in my name to a charity was a life changing experience.”

All students choose a charity and determine how to present their charity in a way that stands out, a task Knight described as a challenge.

“I had to open up and dig down deep to find that thing that truly mattered and how to tell a story that would resonate with people or move them in a certain way to choose me to award,” Knight said of his winning presentation. “It was also fulfilling knowing that I was able to raise money for a good cause and impact people’s lives just by educating and informing people in my own class on the seriousness of mental health.”

Sport management professor Peter Titlebaum says the tournament helps “build students’ skills and abilities to share stories about their personal lives.” Over the past five years, the Department of Sport Management has donated $6,350 to 20 charities through the Mioli fund.

“It’s great to see students caring about influencing others,” Titlebaum said.