Growing On and Off the Field

A new fund aims to support young football players

Matt Mandrusiak remembers receiving his first athletic scholarship, and what it meant to have support in playing the sport he loves while forwarding his education. He was a young hockey player in high school when he received a scholarship to support his post-secondary education and now, working as a donor advisor at Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF), Mandrusiak sees an opportunity to bring that bright hope for the future to others with the recently established Edmonton Junior Football Award Fund.

This annual award fund is designed to support junior football players with either the Edmonton Huskies or the Edmonton Wildcats who are enrolled in post-secondary programs in the city. The CFL’s Edmonton Elks participate as part of the award-granting process. Although the fund was established during difficult times — right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada — Mandrusiak expects an enduring growth in its significance.

“The fund is still very new, and is currently only providing one award each year. As the fund grows over time through the power of endowment, it will be exciting to see opportunities increase for junior football players.”

Having witnessed first-hand the passion and generosity of ECF donors, Mandrusiak sees his contribution in setting up the Edmonton Junior Football Award Fund as “a small piece in a holistically beautiful puzzle.”

“There are many options for our donors to support, and it’s fascinating to learn why many of them have a vested interest in supporting the causes they choose,” says Mandrusiak. “As someone who grew up playing sports, it’s exciting to see these types of funds emerging. Funds like this will impact many student athletes moving forward and our communities will benefit.”

This story comes from the Summer 2022 edition of Legacy in Action. Read the full magazine.