Pacers Foundation Commits $5,000 to Project Indy

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced that the Pacers Foundation has committed $5,000 to Project Indy, the city’s youth summer jobs program. The Pacers Foundation, which has long worked to invest in the lives of Indianapolis youth, funds programs that teach young people how to make winning life choices.

“In striving to eclipse the success of the Project Indy program last year, we recognized the need to involve more community stakeholders – including private and philanthropic partners – in order to reach as many Indianapolis teens as possible,” said Mayor Hogsett. “Thanks to the generosity of the Pacers Foundation, we hope to grow resources, outreach, opportunities, and ultimately, jobs, for Indianapolis’ young people.”

Project Indy, Indianapolis’ first comprehensive youth jobs program, unites non-profit and corporate partners with job providers to offer Indianapolis teens job training, internships, and employment opportunities throughout the summer months.

“We are proud to lend our support to this innovative initiative and are hopeful that our investment and those of others can bring much needed opportunities to our city’s youth,” said Rick Fuson, Pacers Foundation chair and President and COO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

Mayor Hogsett first announced the Project Indy initiative in May of 2016, bringing together community partners to leverage resources and provide support. This year, Mayor Hogsett set the ambitious goal of reaching 2,000 teens with jobs, internships and soft-skills training during the summer of 2017. Thanks in part to private sector employers’ participation including Starbucks, Lowe’s and FedEx and the expansion of jobs within existing programs, Mayor Hogsett announced that this goal had been reached during this year’s State of the City.

The second year of Project Indy also includes an online portal and mobile app in order to seamlessly connect program participants to prospective employers who have joined Project Indy. Interested participants and employers should visit to register and apply. The system allows participants to search and apply for available jobs based on geographic location.

The Pacers Foundation is committed to making a difference in the lives of youth in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana by funding programs that teach our young people how to make winning life choices. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded nearly $7 million to youth-serving non-profits.

Pacers Foundation, IPL Dedicate Indy Parks Basketball Courts

Youngsters play on the refurbished basketball courts at Indy's Beckwith Park.

Youngsters play on the refurbished basketball courts at Indy’s Beckwith Park.

On Tuesday morning, June 20, the Pacers Foundation and IPL continued their partnership with the Indy Parks Foundation by dedicating renovated full and half basketball courts at Beckwith Park on Indianapolis’s Northeastside.

The dedication brings to 10.5 courts the Pacers Foundation and IPL have refurbished over the last four years.

“The renovation of these courts perfectly marries the basketball being played by our Pacers and Fever with the mission to provide opportunities — in this case, opportunities to play basketball on state-of-the-art outdoor courts — for our area youth,” said Bill Benner, Foundation board member and Pacers Sports & Entertainment Senior Vice President for Corporate, Community and Public Relations. “We are grateful for the shared vision and support of IPL in this quest. And we hope that someday, one or more of the youngsters playing on these courts find their way into a Pacers for Fever uniform.”

Another court dedication at Tarkington Park is scheduled for this fall.

2017 Masquerade Honors John and Sarah Lechleiter

Celebration of Civic Leaders to Benefit Pacers Foundation and Simon Youth Foundation

Long-time Indianapolis civic leaders and philanthropists Sarah and John Lechleiter will be honored at the 16th Masquerade on Saturday, Oct. 14, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Masquerade, a premier date on the Indianapolis’ fall social scene, is the signature fundraising event of Simon Youth Foundation and Pacers Foundation and has raised nearly $11 million for the two organizations since its inception. Both work to ensure youth in need, in Indiana and across the country, are given education and other opportunities to better their lives. The Masquerade has dazzled attendees over the years with top-tier entertainment and high-profile attendees.

John and Susan Leichleiter

The Lechleiters are being recognized for their years of civic activities and other efforts that have strengthened the Indianapolis community.

Currently, Sarah serves on the boards of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Sarah was a founding member and served as chair for what is now United Way of Central Indiana’s Women United, as well as Women of Tocqueville. She is a sustaining member of the Children’s Museum Guild, the St. Augustine Guild of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and the Proctor Club.

Sarah graduated in 1976 with a degree in Sociology and Social Welfare from Edgecliff College, which is now part of Xavier University in Cincinnati.

John Lechleiter has served as chairman of the board of directors of Eli Lilly and Company since January 1, 2009. He retired as Lilly’s president and chief executive officer on December 31, 2016, after 37 years with the company. He joined Lilly in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development. In 2005, he was named Lilly’s president and chief operating officer and joined the board of directors. He became CEO on April 1, 2008.

John earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Xavier University in 1975 and master’s and doctoral degrees in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He has received honorary doctorates from Marian University (Indianapolis, Indiana), the University of Indianapolis, the National University of Ireland, Indiana University, Franklin College, and Purdue University.

John is a member of the American Chemical Society. He is chairman of the board of United Way Worldwide and serves as vice chair of the board of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He is a member emeritus of the board of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership. John also serves on the boards of Nike, Inc. and Ford Motor Company.

In addition to their individual accomplishments, Sarah and John together chaired the 75th Anniversary Gala for Marian University and have been deeply involved in the United Way of Central Indiana’s efforts to strengthen early childhood education and support families. The Lechleiters are proud parents of three children and grandparents of six.

“We are deeply gratified that we can honor the Lechleiters for their profound impact on our community,” said Masquerade Co-Chair Cindy Simon Skjodt. “The proceeds of this event go directly to benefit of youth both nationally and here in Indiana and have created opportunities and better lives many times over.”

Last year’s Masquerade honoree was Indiana Pacers Vice President of Communications and Fox Sports Indiana Pacers television analyst Quinn Bucker. Previous honorees include Jim Morris, Larry Bird, Deborah J. Simon, Cindy Simon Skjodt, Tamika Catchings, Rick Fuson, Steve Stitle, Frank Hancock, Jeff Smulyan, the Hulman-George Family, Melvin Simon, Herbert Simon, Reggie Miller, Bobby “Slick” Leonard, Clark Kellogg and Donnie Walsh.

Pacers Foundation Awards 15 Grants

INDIANAPOLIS – At its spring quarterly meeting, the Pacers Foundation board of directors awarded $62,000 in grants to 15 youth serving organizations in Indiana.

For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the Foundation now has provided grants to 56 organizations totaling more than $400,000 including ongoing multi-year commitments to the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the Indianapolis Police Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis and Gleaners.

Recipients of grants at the spring meeting are:

  • The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation Summer Reading Program.
  • Good News Ministries Good News Summer Youth Program.
  • Eskenazi Health Foundation Girls On the Run, from FeverCares funds specifically designated for scholarships for girls who otherwise would not be able to afford to compete.
  • Christel House Academy, Jump Start summer school.
  • College Mentors for Kids.
  • AYS After School Program.
  • Child Advocates.
  • Little Wish Foundation.
  • Outside the Box Camp Create U for children with developmental disabilities.
  • St. Mary’s Child Center Preschool Program.
  • TeenWorks Summer Employment Program.
  • Salvation Army Summer Camp.
  • Indiana Golf Foundation First Tee Program.
  • Shepherd Community Center Summer EXCEL Program.
  • Dyslexia Institute of Indiana Camp Delafield.

“As always we are delighted that the Foundation can provide support to these organizations that provide much-needed programming and opportunities to our Hoosier youth,” said Rick Fuson, Foundation Chairman and President and COO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

Primary funding sources for the Foundation are the annual Masquerade Ball presented in partnership with the Simon Youth Foundation; the Pacers Foundation charity golf outing at Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort; the donation from CNO Financial Services Inc. of $50 for every 3-point shot made by a Pacer during games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the newly launched Pacers Foundation license plate available through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Pacers Foundation Awards Latest Round of Grants

INDIANAPOLIS – The Pacers Foundation board of directors awarded $45,000 in grants to 12 youth-serving Indiana agencies at its quarterly meeting last week.

For the 2016-17 fiscal year, the Foundation now has provided grants to 37 organizations totaling more than $175,000 in addition to ongoing multi-year commitments to the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the Indianapolis Police Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis and Gleaners.

The most recent grants were awarded to:

  • Camptown, Inc., Indianapolis
  • Children’s Bureau, Indianapolis
  • Community Service Center of Morgan County
  • Dearborn County Citizens Against Substance Abuse, Lawrenceburg
  • Girls Inc. of Indianapolis
  • Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., Tree Team
  • Kids Dance Outreach, Indianapolis
  • Murphy Mentoring Group, Indianapolis
  • School on Wheels, Corp., Indianapolis
  • Step-Up, Inc., Indianapolis
  • Wellspring Interfaith Social Services, Fort Wayne
  • Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County

The grant to Girls, Inc., came from designated FeverCares funds.

“We are again delighted to support organizations locally and around Indiana that create opportunities, mentoring, activities and outreach for our youth,” said Rick Fuson, Pacers Foundation board chair. “We also remain thankful to those who provide the resources that allow the foundation to assist others.”

Primary funding sources for the Foundation are the annual Masquerade Ball presented in partnership with the Simon Youth Foundation; the Pacers Foundation charity golf outing at Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort; the donation from CNO Financial Group of $50 for every 3-point shot made by a Pacer during games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the newly launched Pacers Foundation license plate available through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Pacers License Plate Available in 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – Beginning on January 1, 2017, vehicle owners throughout the state of Indiana will be able to purchase Special Group Recognition (SGR) license plates commemorating the Indiana Pacers and benefitting the Pacers Foundation.

The Pacers’ SGR plate will be available for sale at any BMV license branch and online through

The plates will feature the Pacers logo on the left side. The words Pacers Foundation will adorn the bottom. Plates for passenger vehicles, trucks up to 11,000 pounds and RVs will have the prefix WP. Motorcycle plates will have the prefix WG.

All proceeds from the plate will go to the Pacers Foundation to support youth-serving organizations throughout the state of Indiana.

“Since the Foundation’s beginning in 1994, more than $7 million has been donated to organizations serving our Hoosier youth and the specialty plate will enhance that giving for years to come,” said Pacers Foundation Board Chairman Rick Fuson, who is also president and COO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment. “We’re also delighted that Pacers fans can display Pacer Pride on their vehicles, especially as we celebrate our 50th anniversary season.”

Plates can be obtained for passenger vehicles and trucks up to 11,000 pounds, motorcycles and recreational vehicles. The plate will cost an annual fee of $40, $25 of which goes back to the organization, in addition to registration fees and excise tax. Personalized plates can also be requested for an additional fee of $45. Purchasers can request specific numbers from 101-9999 on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Pacers Foundation Awards Grants to 12 Youth-Serving Organizations

The Pacers Foundation board of directors awarded $55,500 in grants to 12 youth-serving organizations at its quarterly meeting on October 20.

Grants went to:

  • The Assistance League of Indianapolis for its Operation School Bell program that provides clothing, shoes and supplies to IPS elementary students.
  • IPS School 19 for its SUPER fitness program.
  • The Healthier Morgan County Initiative, Mooresville, for its Engaging Education project.
  • Intersect, Inc., Anderson, for its program that encourages youth to make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • The Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault for its program to increase awareness and reduce sexual assaults on Indiana college campuses.
  • Sheltering Wings, Danville, which provides shelter for women who have been victims of abuse and their children.
  • The Social Health Association of Indiana, Indianapolis, for its anti-bullying and anti-violence program for teenage girls.
  • Coburn Place Safe Haven, Indianapolis, for its after-school program.
  • RESPECT 360, an anti-violence, anti-drugs program directed toward teens in Allen County.
  • Southside Youth Council, Indianapolis, for its Teen Court program.
  • The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, which provides free K-12 school trips throughout Indiana.
  • Western Governors University, a matching grant to assist displaced ITT students in continuing their educations.
  • Million Meals, Indianapolis, which provides ready-packed meals to Indiana food banks, providing millions of meals to Hoosiers every year.

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CNO Financial Group To Present $17,000 Check To Pacers Foundation, Boosting Total Support To $250,000

Oct 26, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ – CNO Financial Group, a life and health insurance holding company and parent of Bankers Life, will present a $17,300check to the Pacers Foundation during opening night ceremonies on Wednesday, October 26 at the Indiana Pacers game with the Dallas Mavericks.

Last season, CNO Financial Group pledged to donate $50 to the foundation for every successful three-point shot made by a Pacers player at home games during the 2015-2016 season.

Since 1999, CNO Financial Group has donated more than $258,000 to support thePacers Foundation in its mission to build stronger Indiana communities by funding educational programs and activities benefiting at-risk youth and their families. In its most recent fiscal year, the Pacers Foundation provided more than $400,000 to 49youth-serving organizations throughout the state of Indiana.

“The Pacers and the Foundation are tremendous partners in our company’s commitment to help strengthen the communities where we live and work,” said Ed Bonach, CEO of CNO Financial Group. “Every season we look forward to teaming up with the Pacers, knowing each successful three-point shot helps raise money to support the education, health and well-being of Indiana’s youth.”

“It is tremendously gratifying to know that each time Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard shouts ‘Boom Baby’ at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, our partners at CNO Financial are contributing to organizations that create hope and opportunity for at-risk youth inIndiana,” said Rick Fuson, Pacers Sports & Entertainment president and chairperson of the Pacers Foundation. “We are so thankful to CNO for its lasting support of both our Foundation and the Pacers franchise. No NBA team has a better partner.”

CNO Financial Group will once again donate $50 to the Pacers Foundation for each three-point basket the Pacers score during the 2016-2017 season, marking the company’s 18th consecutive year supporting the foundation through its three-pointer donation program.

About CNO Financial Group
CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO) is a holding company. Our insurance subsidiaries – principally Bankers Life and Casualty Company, Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company and Washington National Insurance Company – primarily serve middle-income pre-retiree and retired Americans by helping them protect against financial adversity and provide for a more secure retirement. For more information, visit CNO online at

Buckner Humbled to Receive Recognition at The Masquerade

By Daniel Massa

Quinn Buckner, long-time Pacers Fox Sports Indiana analyst and vice president of communication for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, was honored at Friday night’s 15th annual Masquerade event, benefitting the Simon Youth Foundation and the Pacers Foundation.

The Indiana Roof Ballroom was transformed into “Club Q” for the night, as Buckner, well known for his accomplishments on the court as a player (one of only three men to win a high school championship, an NCAA championship, an NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal) and courtside as a broadcaster, was recognized for his involvement in the community.

“I’m humbled, I really am,” Buckner said. “I’ve been blessed enough to have worked in this organization for just under 20 years, and with the Simon family in some form or fashion, and it’s amazing the giving this family does. And to be considered somewhat in that arena, I’m a little awestruck by being here.”

Buckner has served on the boards of numerous charities, and has made it a priority to serve his community no matter where his professional life took him.

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Quinn Buckner to be Honored at Masquerade for Work On and Off Court

Editor’s Note: Quinn Buckner is being honored on Friday, October 21 at The Masquerade, the signature fundraising event of the Simon Youth Foundation and Pacers Foundation. The following story appears in the banquet program for the event.

By Mark Montieth

It would be simple to recognize Quinn Buckner for the depth of his athletic accomplishments, which are, by themselves, extraordinary.

After all, he is only one of three players in history – Magic Johnson and Jerry Lucas are the others – to win a state high school basketball championship (Thornridge, in Dolton, Ill.), an NCAA championship (Indiana, 1976), an NBA championship (Boston Celtics, 1984) and Olympic Gold Medal (Montreal, 1976).

But stopping there would be stopping far short of the totality of Quinn Buckner.

A basketball player who always valued the assist that led to a goal, that trait has followed Quinn into his post-athletic career and is why he is being recognized tonight as the 2016 Masquerade Honoree.

Consider his “other” pursuits:

Big Ten Advisory Commission, Center for Leadership Development, Community Health Network Foundation, First Tee of Indianapolis, Indiana University Board of Trustees, Indiana University Foundation, Indiana Youth Institute, Indianapolis Zoological Society, National Basketball Players Association, Old National Bank Advisory Board, Pacers Foundation, Special Olympics of Indiana, USA Basketball and the YMCA.

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