The Portland Trail Blazers
In 2006, when the Portland Trail Blazers introduced newly signed player Sergio Rodriguez to Portland, they turned to Virginia Garcia to help them make Rodriguez feel welcome. “We had a dinner for Sergio at Hernando’s Hideaway in Portland and Virginia Garcia was our host,” said Traci Rose, VP of Communications and Public Relations for the Trail Blazers. “Friends and family from Virginia Garcia brought their children to meet him.”
The initial connection between Virginia Garcia and the Trail Blazers proved fortuitous. “We had been aware of Virginia Garcia and the exceptional work they do in the community, so when we were identifying organizations for our Make It Better Foundation grants, Virginia Garcia rose to the top.”
Pictured at left, Primavera Armendariz, clinic manager of the Cornelius Clinic, which houses the Padres con Initiativa program, speaks at the Blazers' annual gala about the program.
Virginia Garcia’s Padres Con Initiativa Program received a $25,000 grant in 2010 from the Make It Better Foundation. Padres Con Initiativa is an education program that offers classes to parents on positive parenting, including language development and reading, good discipline, nutrition, stress relief and support. “We have three areas that define who we are as an organization,” said Rose. “They are: Live, Learn, Play. In our philanthropy, we look for organizations in the community who embody that philosophy. The Padres Con Initiative program really fits our commitment to healthy kids and families.”
The partnership the Trail Blazers have established with Virginia Garcia is mutually beneficial. From a business standpoint, particularly an athletic franchise, the connection to building healthy communities is crucial. “We ask where the need is, and who’s doing the best work.” said Rose. “Virginia Garcia is setting the bar for providing health for kids and families. They have a strong brand.” For Virginia Garcia, the partnership provides a unique opportunity to call attention to their programs and services, as well as connections to other businesses and foundations.
Pictured at right, Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation staff members Christine Rontal and Michele Horn with Nicolas Batum.
Most importantly, the Make It Better Foundation grant money allows Virginia Garcia to continue the Padres Con Initiative program. “We’re grateful to the Trail Blazers for their inspiration and support,” said Ignolia Duyck, Virginia Garcia outreach program manager.