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Pittsburgh Steelers’ Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Announces Nine Pittsburgh Area K-9 Grants

Pittsburgh, PA – Today, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Quarterback and Findlay, OH native, Ben Roethlisberger, announced the final grants of the 2013-14 season from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund. The Foundation will be distributing nine grants totaling $77,000 to police departments in the Pittsburgh, PA area where the Steelers play their home games.

The K-9 departments receiving funding from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation this year are City of Washington Police, Edinboro Borough Police, Eureka Fire Rescue EMS, Forest Hills Police, Jefferson County Drug Task Force, Martins Ferry Police, New Sewickley Township Police, North Fayette Township Police and the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Funds will be used to start new K-9 units as well as maintain existing ones who will purchase additional K-9s, K-9 safety vests, training equipment, food and other necessary expenses such as vet bills and K-9 specific patrol vehicles.

This announcement completes the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation’s seventh grant cycle, during which it distributed $157,600 in grants to K-9 units around the country. In addition to the Pittsburgh grants announced, the Foundation distributed grants to police and fire departments in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers in the 2013-14 season. The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation invited police and fire departments in the eight cities to submit proposals detailing their needs.

Earlier this week, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation announced a grant to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to help fill the void left by beloved K-9 Rocco’s recent passing from injuries sustained in the line of duty.

Since 2007, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation has made 135 grants totaling more than $1.2 million to 129 police and fire departments and five community youth organizations, including Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Make A Wish Foundation. These 129 canine grants have funded the purchase of more than 67 dogs, the training of more than 29 dogs and 50 handlers, safety equipment, such as vests, for more than of 54 dogs and training equipment for more than 33 dogs as well as food, vet services and housing for many more.

The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation is grateful for its generous supporters who have enabled it to expand its K-9 grant program, including Pro Camps and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office as well as caring individual donors from around the country.

North Fayette Township Police Chief Mark O’Donnell stated, “I would like to extend my extreme gratitude to the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for its generosity and support. The Foundation’s assistance will provide an integral role in the development of our newly started K-9 program. The North Fayette Township Police Department K-9 program relies greatly on contributions like this in order to maintain the high standards required to make the program successful. We are confident that our K-9 program will serve our community well and appreciate the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation’s belief in the NFPD’s K-9 program as well.”

In response to this year’s support, City of Martins Ferry Police Chief John P. McFarland said, “The Martins Ferry Police Department, the City of Martins Ferry and the community in general are very grateful for the funding to support K-9 Ecko. We received Ecko almost three years ago and he has been a great tool for our department.”

Edinboro Police Department Chief Jeffrey D. Craft added, “We would like to thank Ben Roethlisberger and the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for the financial support to our K-9 program. Without this generous grant, the Edinboro Police Department would not have been able to implement a new police K-9. The Edinboro Police Department K-9 program will now be able to make a proactive approach with enforcing drug laws and making a positive impact in our community.”

Jefferson County Drug Task Force Detective Chris Vinci shared, “On behalf of the Jefferson County Drug Task Force, I would like to thank the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for selecting our department as a grant recipient. We are very grateful and honored to be chosen as one of the departments able to benefit by such a great foundation. The support given by the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation is critical to maintaining our K-9 to proudly serve the citizens of Jefferson County at no cost to the tax payers. The K-9 is a valuable asset to the county and our department and we are proud to be able to serve our area.”

Chief Chris Luppino of the City of Washington Police Department offered, “I would like to thank Ben Roethlisberger and all members of the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation and The Giving Back Fund. With your support and donation we will be able to provide the citizens of Washington a K-9 unit for many years to come.”

In commenting on why the mission of the foundation is so important to him, Roethlisberger said, “We're very fortunate to be in the position that we are able to help these K-9 units. The work that is performed by the dogs and their handlers as well as the bond that is formed is incredible. We're just thrilled to do our small part.”

For more information about the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation or The Giving Back Fund, please contact Jessica Duffaut or visit www.bigben7.com or www.givingback.org.

About Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger is in his ninth season as quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and already has secured his place in the record books. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, he is aptly referred to as Big Ben, and has become known for big performances and a humble approach. Roethlisberger is one of only 10 starting quarterbacks to win two or more Super Bowls. In 2009, he led the Steelers to a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa with a thrilling touchdown pass in the final seconds. In 2006, Roethlisberger became the youngest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, defeating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Detroit. Roethlisberger was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2012, and already holds most of the passing records for the Steelers. He is the only quarterback to lead his team to the conference championship game in each of his first two seasons. He was the unanimous Rookie of the Year in 2004, breaking Dan Marino’s rookie records for completion percentage and passer rating, and was the first quarterback in NFL history to compile a 13-0 regular season record as a rookie.

Roethlisberger was raised in Findlay, OH and was a three-sport star at Findlay High School. He went on to set nearly every quarterback record at Miami University (Ohio) prior to foregoing his senior season and becoming the 11th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2004 NFL Draft. Roethlisberger resides near Pittsburgh with his wife Ashley, son Benjamin and his dog Hercules.

About The Giving Back Fund
The Giving Back Fund (GBF) is a national public charity that creates and professionally manages charitable foundations and other philanthropic programs for athletes, entertainers, business entrepreneurs, and corporations. Since our founding in 1997, GBF has created an important niche in expanding and diversifying philanthropy, particularly among young people, women and people of color. Our unique structure allows donors to direct more of their charitable dollars to causes they care about and less to administrative overhead. To date, The Giving Back Fund has provided philanthropic consulting, management and programming to more than 200 athletes, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and other high net worth individuals. GBF has overseen the distribution of more than $30,000,000 in charitable grants within the United States and other countries, and has developed dozens of unique scholarship, mentoring, medical, arts, and other philanthropic programs. For additional information, please visit www.givingback.org.

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