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Our Mission

The Kevin Dare Foundation is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization based in State College, PA.  The Foundation was formed in 2002 after the tragic death of Penn State Pole-Vaulter & National Champion Kevin Dare at the Big Ten Men’s Track & Field Championships in Minnesota. Our mission is to assist high school student athletes, who have suffered a debilitating injury or illness, achieve their dream of earning a college degree. We serve as a resource for these students and the families and communities that support them, offering guidance and support as they navigate their new medical situation.

We also provide financial assistance through our Life…Back on Track Scholarship Program, which awards funds to selected recipients to be used at the College or University of their choice.

All of our work is centered around four key areas:

  • Sports Education & Awareness
  • Financial Assistance & Scholarships
  • Student Athlete Safety
  • Community Engagement

We host events throughout the year, and all proceeds raised go to supporting our programs and assisting the injured and ill student athletes who need it most.

Our Scholarship Program

The Life…Back On Track scholarship program provides the necessary funds for selected student athletes to attend the college or university of their choice.  Kevin’s life exemplified  integrity, inspiration and indomitable spirit. In Kevin’s honor, the Kevin Dare Foundation is committed to helping challenged athletes refocus their life and supporting them as they accomplish their academic goals throughout college.

Kevin’s Legacy

As an accomplished and experienced pole vaulter, Kevin James Dare loved to soar like an eagle. On February 23rd, 2002, Kevin, a sophomore at the Pennsylvania State University, was competing at the Big Ten Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championships. Just before he went to make his first vault of the day, Kevin turned to his father, Ed, and said, “This is my day, Dad.” They were the last words that Kevin spoke before sprinting down the runway, planting his pole, and launching himself high into the sky.

Kevin died after hitting his head on the metal planting box where he had planted his pole for the jump.

After years of trying to further improve the safety mandates of the sport, prompting development and urging use of the world’s first approved pole vault –specific helmet, the world’s first SoftBox and trying to create awareness of the dangers and stricter safety standards needed for the sport, the Foundation realized that the true legacy of Kevin Dare could be found within how he lived his life, not just from the cause of the end of it.

The Life…Back on Track College Scholarship Program

In Kevin’s honor, the Kevin Dare Foundation is committed to helping challenged athletes refocus their life and supporting them as they accomplish their academic goals throughout college. Download Scholarship Application

Pole Vault Safety – KD Max Pro Pole Vaulting Helmet

The Kevin Dare Foundation will continue to provide free helmets that they helped develop to athletes and schools that cannot afford them. Contact us at 814-231-2249 or jmoriarta@kevindare.com.

The Heart of a Lion Award

In memory of Penn State pole vaulter Kevin Dare, the Penn State Track and Field staff would like to introduce a new way of honoring Kevin. The “Kevin Dare Heart of the Lion” Award is being created to promote courage, sportsmanship and leadership in track and field. The award will be presented annually at the Kevin Dare Invitational held at Penn State’s Indoor Track each January.  Penn State Track and Field asks that each competing team/coaching staff that attend the Kevin Dare Invitational each January nominate an athlete for the award, one boy and one girl winner to be determined from the nominees. Criteria to consider (but is not limited to):

  • Athletic Accomplishments
  • Courage
  • Sportsmanship
  • Leadership
  • Academic Success

Events

The Kevin Dare Memorial Golf Tournament

DATE: Monday, September 15, 2014
VENUE: Centre Hills Country Club, State College, Pennsylvania

DETAILS:

  • Awards Dinner immediately following Tournament
  • Great Prizes, Complimentary Foursome Photo, Commemorative Gifts & Silent Auction
  • Proceeds Benefit the Life…Back on Track College Scholarship Program for seriously injured and ill student athletes.

 

Our volunteer committee puts on a number of events throughout the year to both raise funds as well as educate and bring awareness to the Foundation.  Scroll through to read more about:

The Kevin Dare Memorial Golf Tournament –  Sept 15, 2014

City to Shore – Donate or Join Team Dare for a 100 mile bike ride from Cherry Hill to Ocean City, NJ.  September 27, 2014

 

The Kevin Dare Memorial High School

Invitational

 

Heart of the Lion award 2014

DATE: Saturday, January 25th, 2014
VENUE: Horace Ashenfelter III Track at the Penn State Multisport Facility, State College PA

DETAILS: One of the most highly anticipated indoor high school track meets in the Northeast, the Kevin Dare Memorial High School Invitational is an indoor track and field competition held every January in memory of Kevin.

The meet is held at the Multi-Sport Facility –  Horace Ashenfelter III Track and Penn State University.  Visit Penn State’s website for more information

KEVIN DARE “HEART OF THE LION” AWARD:

In memory of Penn State pole vaulter Kevin Dare, the Penn State Track and Field staff introduced a new way of honoring Kevin in 2012.  The “Kevin Dare Heart of the Lion” Award is presented to promote courage, sportsmanship and leadership in track and field. Each accepted team will be asked to nominate an athlete from their boys’ and girls’ program.

Winners of the 2014 Kevin Dare Heart of a Lion award: Carl Leacock of Bullis High School and Rachel DeCecco of Cumberland Valley.

Winners of the 2013 Kevin Dare Heart of a Lion award:  Aaron Roy of Manchester Valley and Elizabeth “Libby” Nolan of Hershey High.

Winners of the 2012 Kevin Dare Heart of a Lion award:  Ryan Horgan of Holy Ghost Prep and Lizzy Shadle of Methacton High.

News & Updates

COLE BENOVY

photo (28)This past year, Cole Benovy, a senior at Hershey High School, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. AML is a cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells. The cancer grows from cells that would normally turn into white blood cells. This type of leukemia is extremely rare in patients under age 40.

The Benovy family, parents David and Jenifer and sisters Kendall and Mason, became concerned when Cole started displaying a strange rash on his legs that was followed by intense bruising.  Their concern turned to out to be justified, as doctors delivered the frightening diagnosis of AML on in May of 2012.

As Kendall Benovy wrote, “Life as we know it was turned upside down.”

cole with breathing machieneCole began an intense course of chemotherapy two days later at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center that ended up keeping him in the hospital for over six months.  He endured over 70 chemotherapy treatments, 50 blood transfusions, and a few trips to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Cole had to adjust to a new physical reality, as he became incredibly weak trying to fight off the cancer that had ravaged his body. photo (27)

Cole, an honors student, had also been a competitive swimmer for most of his life.  It was his passion, the thing he would sacrifice all other activities for.  Early morning swim practices, constant hard work in preparation for upcoming meets – for many years it consumed his life.

Cole back in the water for the first time since getting sick

He helped the Hershey swim team win the  District Championships and States three years in a row, and was a swimming instructor at the Hershey Aquatic Club.  Cole planned to swim competitively in college, and there was the possibility of athletic scholarships with schools in New England, Colorado and California.

Because of the intense treatment needed to fight the disease, Cole missed the end of his junior year and the first semester of his senior year of High School.

Cole in Hospital with Nurse

That, coupled with his inability to swim, turned his college plans upside down.  Even after being given remission status, he  needed to stay close to home because of continual doctors’ visits for blood work and physicals, and he could no longer rely on athletic scholarships to help pay for tuition.

coles banner

“I initially thought I could get back in the pool and swim for part of my senior year but due to a 45 lb. weight loss, nerve damage in my feet and legs and heart damage, I was unable to do that.  I had been a part of one of the top Aquatic Clubs in the country for most of my life and swimming had become a part of who I am. It was a very difficult time for me”.

cole with friends and thon diamond

It was about this time that the Benovy’s heard about the Kevin Dare Foundation and the Life…Back on Track Scholarship program from their social worker at Hershey Medical Center.

The Foundation immediately felt that Cole was a strong candidate from his application, but that feeling intensified after speaking with him and asking why he thought he should receive a scholarship.

cole at graduation“Hard work, determination, and commitment have been present throughout my life. It is how I beat cancer. I will continue to volunteer in my community as I have done since my junior year in high school.

But more importantly, I will live my life as an honest, empathetic person, with a strong work ethic, ready to face the challenges of tomorrow.”

The Kevin Dare Foundation is proud to award Cole a Life…Back on Track Scholarship to continue his studies at Penn State’s University Park Campus. We look forward to continuing to support him over these next four years, and wish him all the best.

TYLER VITELLO

Tyler Vitello had everything going for him as he began his Senior year of High School in Saddle Brook, NJ. An honors student, he was also captain of the football team and was being recruited by elite college football programs to attend University on full scholarship.

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That all changed one November evening, when Tyler was hit during a kickoff.

“Only twenty minutes into the game, I suffered such a severe hit, it caused me to break my neck and damaged my spinal cord. Lying there on the field and not feeling my arms and legs was the scariest experience of my life”.

232323232 fp53842_nu=5876_5-9_238_WSNRCG=3-459-9583329nu0mrjTyler was rushed to the hospital and underwent a grueling ten-hour surgery, where the doctors tried to repair the damage done to his bones, nerves, and muscles by the fatal hit.

The prognosis was not good, and Tyler’s doctors doubted he would ever walk again.  Ever the sportsman, Tyler used every bit of strength he had to get through his daily rehabilitation exercises, and day-by-day, he began to make some progress.

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“Over the course of months in the hospital and rehab facility, I went from being a quadriplegic to a tetraplegic to a paraplegic (all new words to me). As I came to find out, spinal cord injury also causes many other difficulties besides paralysis: numbness, tingling, pain, thermal and blood pressure problems – the list goes on.”

 Miraculously, after six months of constant rehabilitation in the hospital, Tyler began to walk again (albeit not exactly the same as before).

 dr_nueves_pic_mediumHe also continued to keep up on his schoolwork, even though his injuries had led to a disorder in which sleep is near impossible.  Unfortunately, the athletic scholarships and full-rides to college were no longer on the table, and Tyler realized he needed a new goal. That’s when he set his sights on becoming an athletic trainer, and applied for the Kevin Dare Foundation’s  Life…Back on Track Scholarship.

“I have truly changed my entire view on what is important in this world, and I realize it’s all about helping people and making a difference in someone else’s life”

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“Not many people get a second chance at life, and I will never take for granted my second chance, or the gift of being able to walk again. I will always keep this in the back of my mind as I work with others who are facing their own physical challenges.”

We are proud to welcome Tyler Vitello into the Kevin Dare Foundation Family, and we look forward to following his progress as he continues his studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Best of luck Tyler!

Helmets Available for your Team

The Kevin Dare Foundation is committed to student athlete safety. Coaches, athletes and parents can all secure complimentary helmets for your team, courtesy of the Foundation. Please contact Jean Moriarta at jmoriarta@kevindare.com or 814-231-2249 to make your request.  Silver KD Pro Helmets are available in sizes S/M and L/XL.

A Special Thank You

Lance Shaner and Shaner Office Holdings, LP have generously donated storage space for the KDMax and KDPro helmets we donate to schools and student athletes! We wanted to thank them for this generous support that allows us to keep making pole vault a safer sport.

Our Sponsors

The continued success of the Kevin Dare Foundation would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. Thank you!

Title Sponsor

Mike Weil

Platinum Sponsors

 PFG Financial Advisors 

Dave & Abby Bollinger

Silver Sponsors

fidelity logo

 

 

 

ArisLogo

 

 

 

 

CeteraAdvisorNetworks

 

 

  • Bill & Susan Blokker
  • Blake & Linda Gall
  • Ruben & Janet Echemendia
  • Mike & Nancy Farrell
  • George & Susan Keister
  • Team Luebbers-Jacobs
  • Sam Mirarchi
  • Bob & Mary Szeyller

Bronze Sponsors

Twenty Over Ten

PSU Track and Field Alumni

Our Board

EDWARD K. DARE, III – Founder & Chairman

President & CEO, Partners Financial Group (PFG), CLU,ChFC,CLTC
476 Rolling Ridge Drive, Suite 333 State College, PA 16801

As President & CEO of PFG, Ed Dare has 35 years of experience in the financial industry.  Since its inception in 1960, PFG has evolved into a powerful national financial services company with over 150 registered associates, including attorneys, financial planners, insurance experts, and accountants.  For more than 50 years, PFG has assisted Financial Advisors in designing and implementing comprehensive wealth and security strategies to help their clients accumulate, protect and transfer wealth.  While Ed’s primary responsibility is executive oversight of PFG, he currently works individually with a select group of clients throughout the United States providing comprehensive financial planning services. Ed is a Registered Principal with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, and a founding principal of PFG Financial Advisors, a federally registered Investment Adviser. He holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 24, 26, 63 and 65 registrations.

Ed has served on several boards and held advisory positions with numerous corporate, institutional and non-profit organizations, including ARIS Corporation, the Centre County Community Foundation, the Kevin Dare Foundation, and NASD (now FINRA). In addition, he has written numerous articles published within the financial services industry. He has been the recipient of the National Management Awards and the Master Agent Award from the National Association of Life Underwriters and the General Agent and Manager Association (GAMA), respectively.

Prior to his association with PFG, Ed was a marketing Vice President for Prudential Insurance Company of America. He received Prudential’s highest award, the President’s Citation, five times. Ed received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a Major in Business Management from Temple University, as well as receiving a Master’s Degree in Financial Services from The American College. Ed is the founder of The Kevin Dare Foundation and the father of Kevin Dare.

ERIC K. DARE , CFP®

Executive Vice President, PFG & Founding Principal, PFG Wealth Advisors, LLC
476 Rolling Ridge Drive, Suite 333, State College, PA 16801

In his capacity as executive vice president of PFG, Eric heads PFG’s Risk Management, Qualified Plans and Financial Planning Divisions.  In addition, he is responsible for the development of corporate growth strategies and recruiting.  Eric entered the financial services business as an advisor in 2003 and is the Founding Principal of PFG Wealth Advisors, LLC where he manages over $60 million in client assets.  He also founded PFG’s Professional Athlete Division and is registered as an NFLPA Registered Player Financial Advisor.

He received his B.S degree in Marketing from the Smeal College of Business Administration at Penn State University and is a Certified Financial Planner professional.  He holds the Series 7, 66 and Pennsylvania Life and Health licenses.

Eric is active in the community and serves as board member of Beating The Odds Foundation and steering committee member of Uplifting Athletes.  He lettered as a defensive back for the Nittany Lions and played under legendary head coach Joe Paterno for four years. He was also captain of Penn State’s Track & Field team and placed 5th in the Javelin at the Big Ten Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships.  He and his family reside in State College, Pennsylvania.

LAURIE A. SNEVE, CPA

Sr. Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer, Retail Opportunity Investments Corp.
8905 Town Centre Drive, Suite 108, San Diego, CA 92122

Laurie A. Sneve is Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer of Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. (NASDAQ: ROIC) and has over 25 years of experience in the real estate industry. In her role at ROIC, she is responsible for oversight of the accounting department, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and SEC financial reporting.

Ms. Sneve was the Chief Financial Officer of Coreland Companies, Inc. from 2007 – 2012.  In her position at Coreland Companies, a full-service commercial real estate firm, Ms. Sneve was responsible for all financial operations of the company including oversight of the accounting department, human resources and information technology.

Prior to Coreland Companies, Ms. Sneve worked for Pan Pacific Retail Properties, Inc. (NYSE: PNP) as Vice President and Controller for over eleven years.  In her tenure with Pan Pacific she was responsible for overseeing SEC financial reporting, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, including oversight of all Company internal controls, property accounting, audit, tax and information technology.  She was instrumental in the Company’s 1997 Initial Public Offering, subsequent issuances of equity and corporate senior notes and the acquisitions of Western Properties Trust in 2000 and Center Trust Inc. in 2003.

Prior to joining Pan Pacific, Ms. Sneve worked at The Hahn Company, an owner and operator of regional shopping centers, where she was Controller, Director of Accounting and Internal Audit Manager.  Ms. Sneve became licensed as a Certified Public Accountant during her tenure with Arthur Andersen & Company. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from The Pennsylvania State University.  Ms. Sneve belongs to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

MICHAEL K. FARRELL

Retired Executive Vice President, US Distribution, MetLife
10 Park Avenue, Morristown, NJ  07962

Michael K. Farrell was the executive vice president for US Distribution, MetLife’s sales organization that provides products and services to millions of individuals and more than 60,000 employers across the US, including over 90 of the top one hundred FORTUNE 500® companies.  The division provides employee benefit and retirement solutions, insurance and other financial services through MetLife’s Employee Benefits Sales, Individual Distribution and third party distribution (through MetLife Investors) channels.  He had oversight of the sales support functions and a team focused on the operations, sales and investment product management for MetLife’s four broker-dealers (MetLife Securities, New England Securities, Tower Square Securities, and Walnut Street Securities).

Farrell has more than 36 years of experience in the financial services industry.  Prior to joining MetLife in May 2001, he was president of Michael K. Farrell Associates, Inc.  Founded in 1990, the firm specialized in corporate qualified retirement plans and retirement plans for not-for-profit organizations.  At the time of its sale to INC in 2001, the firm had over 1,500 clients.  Over the span of his career, Farrell has held the positions of president, Mutual Benefit Pension Corporation, and senior vice president, Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company.  He served as national sales director for ReliaStar Retirement Plans, and as a member of the ReliaStar Enterprise Council.  Farrell  is active in community affairs and also serves as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club Life Camp.  He is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University.

RICK JACOBS, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA & CEO EB Jacobs
300 South Burrowes Street, State College, PA 16801 

Dr. Jacobs has been at PSU since 1979.  He holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a master’s degree from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. from UC Berkely.  Dr. Jacobs has received several national awards for his work including the Ghiselli award for research excellence from the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (1982), the Yoder-Heneman award for research from the Society for Human Resource Management (1992), the William Owens award for research from the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2000), and the Robert McDonald advancement of organizational research methodology award from the Academy of Management (2010).  He has been awarded major research grants from the US Departments of Labor and Transportation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and PNC Bank.  He is the author of over 50 research articles and book chapters and a fellow in the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.  Dr. Jacobs is a Senior Fellow at the Justice and Safety Institute, a member of the Schreyer Honors College Distinguished Faculty, and on the Board of Advisors for the Presidential Leadership Academy.  He developed and leads the PNC Bank Leadership Assessment Center where each year, 48 students from the Schreyer Honors College, Presidential Leadership Academy and Bunton-Waller Scholars are assessed through a full-day business simulation.

As head of EB Jacobs, a consulting firm specializing in selection and assessment, Dr. Jacobs sets strategic vision for the company, consults with private and public sector organizations on the design of selection and appraisal systems, and works with them on matters of fair employment.  Prior to forming EB Jacobs, he was Vice President of Consulting, North America, for SHL, a worldwide consulting organization operating in 40 countries.  In that capacity, he was responsible for the 40 consultants operating in 7 offices in the US and Canada.  He was also part of the international research initiative at SHL and worked with clients on developing assessment programs that could succeed across geographic and cultural boundaries.

KATHLEEN W. BILDERBACK, JD, LL.M., AEP

Member, Affinity Law Group, LLC
1610 Des Peres Road, Suite 100, St.Louis, MO 63131

Kathleen graduated from St. Louis University with degrees in Accounting and Theatre.  She received her law degree and LL.M. in Taxation from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.  She is the recipient of the Gary I. Boren Memorial Award for attaining the highest overall grade point average in the LL.M. program.

Kathleen specializes in estate, business and executive benefits planning and estate and executive compensation planning with life insurance.  Formerly, she was a member at of the Advanced Markets Group of MetLife, where she provided training and advanced underwriting support for the top producers of MetLife and its subsidiaries.  Prior to joining GenAmerica Financial (a MetLife company) in 1996, she was in private practice.

She is a member of the Missouri and Illinois bars as well as an active member of the American Bar Association and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.   She is a nationally recognized speaker and author and adjunct professor in the LLM program at Washington University’s School of Law.  She is a founding member of Affinity Law Group, LLC, a firm dedicated to providing legal services to businesses, their owners and executives at every stage of their life cycles.

Kathleen is a member of the Business Insurance & Estate Planning Committee of the Association of Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU), and a Registered Financial Advisor for the National Football League Players Association.  She is past volunteer Legal Chair for the Junior League of St. Louis and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Legacy Advisors, the Society of Financial Service Professionals (St. Louis Chapter), the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and the St. Louis University Bequest and Gift Council.  She was named one of Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s Up and Coming Lawyers and received the Accredited Estate Planner designation from the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils.  She recently presented at the Top of the Table Meeting for the Million Dollar Roundtable.

JAY KADUSON, JD

National Sales Director, Income & Protection Solutions Group, MetLife
1300 Hall Boulevard, Bloomfield, CT  06002

Jay Kaduson is the National Sales Director over the Internal Sales Desks and Advanced Sales Center for MetLife.

Prior to Jay’s current role, he was responsible for the Life Sales Desk, On-Boarding/Installations, Wealth Advisory Group, Training and Meeting Planning divisions for Protection Product Wholesaling. In addition, Jay was the Senior Liaison to MetLife’s operating areas, which include Legal, Compliance, New Business, Underwriting, and Compensation.

Jay began his career in the financial services industry in 1998 as Supervising Manager of the Settlement Division for John Hancock Life Insurance Company in Boston, MA.

Jay graduated Magna Cum Laude from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a JD from the New England School of Law. He resides in Chatham, NJ with his wife Tara and their 3 daughters.  Licenses include:  Massachusetts Bar, Professional Degrees: JD

Get Involved

Donate

Donations are the lifeblood of the Foundation, allowing us to continue to offer services and support to student athletes and their families. Every donation counts, no matter the amount! You may choose to make a contribution in two ways:

Online:

Donate Now

 

Mail a check (payable to the Kevin Dare Foundation):

The Kevin Dare Foundation
476 Rolling Ridge Drive, Suite 333
State College, PA, 16801
 

Honorary Gifts

If you would like to make a gift in honor or memory of someone, we will send a letter of acknowledgement to the honoree or their designated family member. Please include the following information when making your gift:

  • The name of the person being honored or memorialized
  • The contact information for the person we should notify

Workplace and Matching Gifts

If your company matches charitable contributions, request a matching gift form from your employer and enclose with your gift. We will do the rest.

Silent Auction Items

Download our Silent Auction Letter Request & Form

We also collect items year- round for our Silent Auction, held in September each year during our annual Golf Tournament.  Past popular items have included:

  • Autographed sports memorabilia
  • Gift cards to Restaurants, Spas, Resorts, and other entertainment venues
  • Hotel/travel packages
  • Designer hand bags and luggage
  • Sporting equipment
  • Certificates for an assortment of one-of-kind experiences

You (or your company) can support the Foundation by contributing an item or service, and will receive a receipt for your tax-deductible contribution. Every item donated helps the Foundation raise more money for the young people we support. Thank you!

Volunteer

Our Volunteer Committee assists with both the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, as well as Special Events. Whether you are looking to volunteer your time for just one day, or throughout the year, we have a place for you to lend your talents.  Our committee is comprised of sub-committees that work on special events, sponsorships, community outreach, promotion, and student & family coordination.  Contact Jean Moriarta at jmoriarta@kevindare.com or (814)231-2249 for more information.