It was a star-studded day on and off the field at Chicago's Grant Park this month as celebrities and TMC's star business partners, volunteers and donors, turned out to join the fight against cancer.
The occasion was Kicks for a Cure, the event created by TMC some six years ago to raise money for cancer charities, which has grown into the world's largest charitable kickball tournament that this year attracted more than 800 people and generated over $110,000 for the cause.
TMC teamed up with Greg Olsen of the Chicago Bears to stage the 2010 event, which took place on July 10th. A report on the tournament in the Chicago Tribune caught the mood superbly. "As Brian Urlacher chilled in a golf cart waiting his turn to kick, actor Vince Vaughn made an appearance alongside comedian Kevin James. Olsen, Vaughn, James, and running back Matt Forte all congregated under the shade, sharing a few laughs as Vaughn razzed the amateur kickball players vying for the title,” said the Tribune.
The event proceeds went to Receptions for Research, a charity created by Greg Olsen and his family after Greg's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago and overcame the disease. Susan Olsen – who was the designated pitcher for Greg's team - continues to provide inspiration for all cancer sufferers.
What has turned this relatively modest kick ball event into such a heavy-hitting fundraiser? The support of sponsor organizations and TMC staff is one critical factor. The TMC business partners that sponsored the 2010 event were Butcher on the Block, Chicago Fire, Dole, Driscoll's, Evian, Gatorade, Goose Island, Ocean Spray, Seattle Sutton, Second City, The Onion, Nonni's and Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars incorporated. These organizations provided food and refreshments for attendees, product donations that also helped to keep costs to a minimum thereby maximizing the contribution to Receptions for Research.
In effect, the supply chain methods that these enterprises routinely deploy in their businesses helped to make the event an unqualified success. TMC collaborated with its partners to deliver the right product at the right time to the right location and in the right quantities at the lowest cost. A classic supply chain solution except that in this case the "customer” was as worthy cause.
The nature of the event is also critical to its success. Kick ball is a simple game that does not need much in the way of resources; it basically requires players, balls, and a field. As a result we can keep our overhead low. And, of course, kick ball is a lot of fun for all those involved.
Still, when TMC set out to create a competition to raise money for the fight against cancer we had no idea that it would develop into the major event that it is today. Kicks for a Cure shows what can be achieved when the supply chain community pools its resources and know how.
Heartfelt thanks to TMC staff, sponsor partners, and all those who took part in the event for their participation and for the commitment and enthusiasm that made this such a memorable occasion.
We are greatly looking forward to the 2011 Kicks for a Cure tournament.
Photos and video clips from this year's Kick for a Cure tournament can be seen by going to our Flickr gallery or our Facebook page. For more information on how you can become a sponsor or participate in some other way please contact Andrea Poitrast or Jason Chamberlain.