Causes Close to Yao Ming's Heart

Yao Ming is putting on a full-court press against wildlife trafficking. The former NBA star, a Chinese basketball icon, is working with top American and Chinese officials to stamp out global trade in endangered species and their parts. In particular, efforts against shark fin consumption and elephant ivory use. In late summer of 2014, Yao joined U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Beijing for this year's "Strategic and Economic Dialogue" with China. The U.S. and China are top destinations for wildlife trafficking. The Yao Ming Foundation assists many different causes, however, one main way has been disaster relief after devastating earthquakes. In fact, this was a main inspiration behind the creation of the Yao Ming Foundation. On May 12th, 2008, an 8.0 earthquake, which is equivalent to the amount of energy released from 790 nuclear bombs hit the Sichuan Province, in China. Devastation was everywhere, but the schools were hit particularly hard, as more than 8,000 schoolrooms and 185 schools were destroyed during the earthquake. The Yao Ming Foundation partnered with The China Youth Development Fund (CYDF), a non-governmental, non-profit organization in China that provides assistance to disadvantaged children and has helped fund construction of more than 9,000 primary schools in poverty-stricken regions. This demonstrated critical leadership and provided hope when it was the most needed, as funds were distributed to provide day-to-day oversight for numerous rebuilding projects. So far five new earthquake resistant schools have been rebuilt ensuring top level education for more than 1000 students, including the many that board at the schools. The Yao Ming Foundation also supports additional educational opportunities in the US and China. In 2010, a series of strong earthquakes shook the impoverished mountainous region of China's Qinghai province, in rapid fashion. The final death toll was 589 people and over ten thousand injured. The Yao Ming Foundation and iTalkBB quickly responded to this disaster by providing a FREE hotline for the overseas Chinese community to contact their friends and relatives in Qinghai. During the first 15 days of this program, more than 800,000 minutes were used to call family in Qinghai.


Four Rings Montana Family Foundation

The Four Rings Montana Family Foundation, named for Joe Montana's four Super Bowl rings, as well as his four children, is a foundation dedicated to making a difference in the lives of underprivileged children throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded by Joe and his wife Jennifer, the Foundation reaches out to various children's charities, in addition to providing much needed scholarships for individual youths. A foundational pillar of the Four Rings Foundation is an unwavering passion and heartfelt commitment to aid in giving all children a supportive and successful start in life. And in the same way the Sbragia Family Vineyards has teamed up with the Montana's to create award-winning wine, they have done the very same thing to support the Foundation and its mission. This iconic superstar's Foundation has helped numerous worthy causes, including the ongoing effort to Feed America's Hungry. Jennifer Montana has created Jennifer Montana Design (JMD), designing and creating distinctive, inspirational jewelry while providing employment opportunities to and for economically disadvantaged people. Her infinite love for her family as well as the joy of witnessing her children's growth into adulthood serve as her most important life inspirations. Her children being Alexandra, Elizabeth, Nathaniel, and Nicholas. Their influence is reflected in her painting, photography, ceramics, and gourmet product creations, such as olive oil and wine, and now with her jewelry, she is able to further express her creativity. As Jennifer's sense of gratitude deepens, so does her sense of timely aspirations to give back to others via creative, artistic channels. JMD aspires to distribute 80% of net profits to Four Rings Montana Family Foundation. Jennifer Montana personally designed a specialty Beast Mode Key necklace in honor of Seattle Seahawks running back sensation, Marshawn Lynch and his charity, FAM 1st FAMILY FOUNDATION (FAM 1st). FAM 1st was founded in 2011 by Lynch and his cousin, Josh Johnson, an NFL quarterback with the Cincinnati Bengals. Like the Montana's, Lynch and Johnson share a profound Bay Area connection and passion to give back to children and families in need.


Inspiration Behind The Rypien Foundation

The Rypien Foundation was formed after Mark's son, Andrew, passed away at the age of three after a valiant fight against cancer. Mark recognized the value quality care can bring to both a patient and the family, and with a commitment to provide hope for local families battling childhood cancer, coupled with a desire to honor Andrew, while helping local families reduce the worries and stress they deal with while battling childhood cancer- the Rypien Foundation was born. The mission is simple, straight forward and effective: to replace the stress and worries with a relaxing and calming experience so that treatments will be more effective and the children will have a greater chance for recovery. In a word - HOPE. The Rypien Foundation hosts a variety of events throughout the year to raise funds to help local families battling childhood cancer. One of these events is the annual Winemakers' Dinner held in mid-March, at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino, in Mark's hometown and the headquarters for the Rypien Foundation, Spokane, Washington. Guests can participate in both silent and live auctions while enjoying a multi-course meal, with each course carefully paired with pre-selected, ultra-premium wines from Walla Walla's premier wineries. The event also offers a chance to visit with the winemakers, all while having an opportunity to raise a glass in helping the Rypien Foundation provide hope for local families battling childhood cancer.