LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Dick Vitale's relentless passion for finding a cure for pediatric cancer is spreading from his home base in Lakewood Ranch to Palmetto.
The well-known ESPN college basketball broadcaster and Ranch resident recently accepted a $25,000 donation from It Works! Global for his favorite charity, The V Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research.
It Works! Global, a worldwide direct sales marketer of beauty, wellness and weight loss products, headquartered in Palmetto, gave the donation to Vitale last weekend during the company's Green Carpet Experience annual corporate sales event, which drew a crowd of 4,000 to the Bradenton area.
The company raised money by asking the sales force in attendance to make a donation in exchange for an It Works! Gives Back Foundation T-shirt. CEO Mark Pentecost has worked with Vitale in the past through the Dick Vitale Gala for The V Foundation, which Vitale hosts every year in Sarasota. Pentecost and his wife, Cindy moved to Manatee County three years ago hoping to become involved.
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"We chose Manatee, not only because it is a destination location, but it is a community where we could make a difference. At It Works!, we want to be known for giving back to the community and making a lasting impact."
The company, whose new
corporate headquarters in Palmetto is a five-story, 50,000-square-foot facility, has partnered with other local nonprofits such as HOPE Family Services, Selah Freedom and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office to build a basketball court for local children.
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator who died of cancer at age 47.
Vitale was a good friend and close colleague of Valvano's. He continues Valvano's legacy through The V Foundation, raising money for children battling cancer. Vitale's annual gala attracts national sports figures and raises millions for the pediatric cancer cause.
Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter @MoschellaHerald.