Hockey Blog In Canada is proud to present another excellent charitable organization today, and one that is still going strong despite the man in charge being shuffled around the league. The Cooke Family Foundation of Hope was started by Michelle and Matt Cooke while Mr. Cooke was a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Since that time, Mr. Cooke has played in Washington, DC and was recently signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a growing fanbase in Pittsburgh already, it would appear that the Cooke family may have start an east coast branch of this organization.
Mission Statement: Directly from the Cooke Family Foundation of Hope website, "[a]ll around us, individuals and families are struggling with enormous problems. This foundation was set up to help bring hope, inspiration, empowerment and dignity back into their lives. Our aim is to help anyone who needs it: children and adults from all walks of life. We'll also provide support for their families". The Cooke Family Foundation of Hope gives people a chance to regain the optimism and enthusiasm for life that was taken from them by whatever afflicts them.
How Did The Cooke Family Foundation Start?: From the foundation's website, "[t]he catalyst for creating the Foundation came from Michelle's family. Her brother Brandon and his wife Jamie were high school sweethearts and expecting their first child, Hope. Something went wrong and Hope was born without a heartbeat. After her funeral Michelle and Matt knew they had to do something to counteract this devastating heartbreak. And so the Foundation was built, literally, on Hope".
Clearly, the Cooke family was affected by the passing of young Hope, and are now working to help others overcome their problems. While there has been little news since 2007 with Matt Cooke being moved from Vancouver to Washington and, now, to Pittsburgh, there is little doubt that Mr. and Mrs. Cooke will continue to help people now that they are settled.
Matt and Michelle Cooke started Cooke's Corner as a way to give back to the community. Suite 24 in the Pacific Coliseum is owned by the Cookes, and they open the suite up to guests of registered charitable organizations in Vancouver. Those guests "attend an exciting Vancouver Giants game at the Pacific Coliseum, enjoying great food and souvenirs, all at absolutely no cost to them or their families", while receiving "complimentary hot dogs, chips, popcorn and beverages" at the WHL game. The best part of night comes when "each child goes home with an autographed memory from Matt" - a nice gesture at the end of an evening where kids can be kids again.
Along with Cooke's Corner, the Cookes are actively part of Canuck Place, "the first free standing children’s hospice in North America. Today it is recognized globally as a leader in pediatric palliative care sharing knowledge, expertise and research regionally, nationally and internationally to assist in the further development of best practices in this field".
Canuck Place is supported by all the Vancouver Canucks through the franchise, but the Cookes have some special teammates helping them in their efforts. Brian Burke, GM of the Anaheim Ducks, and his wife, Jennifer Mather, are supporters of the Cooke Family Foundation. Former Vancouver Canucks and current Anaheim Duck Brendan Morrison, along with his wife Erin, are also a major supporters of the foundation.
How Can I Help?: We'll start with the option of a donation first. Donations can be made in any amount, and are tax-deductible, meaning both you and the Cooke Family Foundation of Hope benefit.
There are events that the foundation uses to raise funds. Again, with the Cookes being traded from Vancouver to Washington last season, there wasn't much to report. However, with Mr. Cooke signing a two-year deal in Pittsburgh, that will hopefully change.
If you work for a charitable organization, you can also apply for funding from the Cooke Family Foundation of Hope. I encourage you to print off the form and apply for a grant from this foundation.
Lastly, you can always contact the Cooke Family Foundation of Hope via email. They can be reached at info-at-foundationofhope-dot-ca. If you have any questions about anything you've seen or read, I encourage you to write them. You can also send your questions and comments via snail mail to:
Suite E - 15 Chesterfield Place
North Vancouver, BC
The Cooke Family Foundation of Hope, the NHLPA, and Matt and Michelle Cooke are helping the communities they live in. It's time for us to help them as well.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!