It has been 10 weeks of offseason since my last race at Beach 2 Battleship. I enjoyed the extra time spent at home, time coaching, and eating whatever I wanted. The effects of 10 weeks without working out and eating mostly junk equaled 31 lbs. gained. I weighed in at 152 lbs. prior to my race at Beach 2 Battleship. Last week I got on the scale and saw 183. This made me realize it is time to get going. I won't be working out on a disciplined schedule until basketball is over in a 4 more weeks but I have begun climbing back on the bike and attending classes at Barre563 which have kicked my butt. I have been super sore from those classes working muscles that haven't been used in 10 weeks.
Mostly I am thrilled to update on the iHope Foundation. The mission of iHope is to provide technology to low-income students in our community who display positive character and work traits. I used money my grandma left me when she passed away to begin this foundation. I pledged to contribute all of my race winnings in 2013 to the foundation in hopes of making a life-changing difference for students in our community who work really hard but have a lot of doors closed due to financial reasons. My goal was to earn $1,500.00 racing. I hoped to add another $1,000.00 in outside contributions. The support of iHope has blown me away! To date we have provided 4 students with iPads and we have also endowed a $1,000.00 scholarship that will go to an iHope recipient upon graduation from high school provided they meet certain academic and attendance criteria. That scholarship is named in memory of my grandma and is called the Evelyn Lehman iHope Scholarship. It really ties the mission together by letting the students know in 7th or 8th grade that college is a real possibility and if they stay the course they will have some money to help pay for it. Our Superintendent also has been working to delegate 2 current scholarships to iHope recipients so we could award 3 iPads each year and provide every student who gets an iPad with a $1,000.00 scholarship. My hope is that one day the 3 scholarships are all fully funded through the money in the Evelyn Lehman iHope endowment.
This leaves us with 2 different goals to fund...one being the iPads and one being the scholarships. The scholarship money is endowed by the Great River Bend Community Foundation of Iowa and any contributions made by Iowa residents qualify for the Endow Iowa 25% tax credit in addition to the federal tax deduction. What this means is that someone who donates $100.00 to the endowed fund will get $25.00 back at tax time from the state plus they get to deduct the $100.00 from federal taxes which means they will see an additional 25.00 savings dependent on which tax bracket they are in. In short a $100.00 contribution to the foundation will only cost the giver $50.00. It is another incentive for giving. The link to the Evelyn Lehman iHope Scholarship is https://cfgrb.givebig.org/c/Funds/a/cfgrb-elis Receiving the tax credit is easy. The Great River Community Foundation sends you a form all filled out that requires a few signatures. You send it back to them and they do the rest. I already received my confirmation from the state of Iowa about the tax credit.
To contribute to the iPad part of the foundation you can still send a contribution to the Pleasant Valley schools administration center or click here for a direct link. This contribution does not qualify for the Endow Iowa tax credit but does still count towards a federal tax deduction. This goal of awarding 3 iPads and scholarships is a big one but it goes right along with my "Dream Big" mantra. A few months back in a sermon at church we were told how God rewards those who give generously. My 2013 race season was proof of that. After earning just over $1,000.00 in racing winnings in 2012 I earned $4,000.00 after committing to give it all away. I'm going to do the same this year. Obviously there are many things we could do with an extra $4,000.00 here at home with the kids but I believe much of my race success and the blessings I have are due to my commitment to giving. I can't do this alone but together we can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Huge thanks to Beau and Rachel Perkins, Justin and Amy Paul, and Daniel Westbay for recent contributions to the foundation. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!