Michelle & Steve Kiefer honored as Lightning Community Hero

Michelle & Steve Kiefer honored as Lightning Community Hero

TAMPA, FL – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Michelle and Steve Kiefer as the Lightning Community Heroes this evening during the first period of tonight’s game against the Seattle Kraken. The Kiefer’s, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, presented by Jabil, will donate the money to the Gigi’s Playhouse, New Life Village, Coffee Uniting People (CUP) and Heart of Adoptions Alliance.

For the past 25 years, the Kiefer’s have made it their personal mission to positively impact the lives of as many children in the foster care system as possible. Over the years, they have taken in numerous children through foster care and adoption. Stepping in as parents and role models for children that have faced a plethora of challenges in their young lives, they have done whatever it takes to make these children feel supported, loved, and wanted. When asked how many children they have, they cannot even give a number; these children were already a “number” in the system, so they refuse to assign them a number in their lives.  The Kiefer’s embody selflessness and have inspired numerous people by their unconditional love and lifetime of service to children in foster care and those in neurodiverse communities.

Tonight’s grants will help each nonprofit continue fulfilling their unique missions. Gigi’s Playhouse will continue their mission to change lives through the consistent delivery of free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. New Life Village will continue to support hundreds of residents by providing a residential community where families seeking permanency for children impacted by foster care or trauma can seek healing in a safe and stable environment. CUP, a local coffee shop that employs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), will continue to further their mission of providing jobs and opportunities to IDDs. Lastly, Heart of Adoptions will use the funds to support two program areas: their Hearts to Home Program and St. Francis Fund.

The Kiefer’s became the 553rd Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through tonight’s game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $30.02 million to more than 700 unique nonprofits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. During the summer of 2021, the Viniks announced that the Community Hero program will give away another $10 million over the next five seasons.

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