In recent years, I've encountered plenty of people who were dismayed at the loss of the Empire State Games, first for the summer of 2009, then the summer of 2011.
Well, the summer Games are back, and the foundation that runs them is hoping that those who value the state's popular Olympic-style event will support it: Literally.
The Empire State Sports Foundation, the entity that secured the rights to hold the Empire State Games, including the re-establishment of the summer games in Rochester in 2013 (July 24-28), launched a "Fuel The Torch" fundraising effort today.
Stephen Gionta, Rochester native, Empire Games veteran and current (although locked-out) New Jersey Devil, helped launch the effort. The Games' press release stated it is "appealing to all supporters, alumni and athletes across the state to get involved and help bring back the Games."
The web site includes various ways for individuals, or corporations, can donate to "Fuel The Torch."
Key info from the release:
* Under the new privately-funded model, the games will depend primarily on individual donations and corporate sponsorship to enable the work of the Empire State Sports Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit.
* The Empire State Sports Foundation hopes the annual “Fuel the Torch” appeal and the “Friends of the Games” campaign will not only help the games grow, but also guarantee that the games will be a permanent fixture for decades to come.
* Quotes from foundation COO Scott Bell:
“Work is progressing every day to bring back the games, but to make these the biggest and best Empire State Games they can be, we need athletes, alumni and all the people of New York to show their support and give from their heart.
“Our goal is more than just bringing back the summer games. It’s our hope that we will be able to make certain that the games are better than ever, and around for the next generation of New Yorkers.”
* The winter Games, which have continued to be held each year in Lake Placid, are set for Feb. 7-10.