Pittsgrove, NJ, January 12, 2015. Pro Angler Mike “Ike” Iaconelli and his wife Rebecca announced today the launch of The Ike Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 foundation dedicated to connecting more kids with fishing opportunities, especially kids in areas where fishing opportunities are not easily found.
The foundation’s first major initiative is donation of new or gently-used fishing equipment to organizations with existing or start-up youth fishing programs. In addition, the foundation will assist youth fishing organizations, as well as community and charitable organizations, with events and functions that teach young people the sport of fishing, the joys of the outdoors and the responsibility of each person to protect the Earth’s natural resources.
“The sport of fishing is near and dear to my heart, and I want as many kids as possible to experience the same fun and excitement from fishing that I do.” said Mike Iaconelli, foundation president. “Fishing is a great way for kids to enjoy the great outdoors, make friends, build confidence and learn important life lessons.
“I hope to bring more kids into the sport of fishing by providing youth groups with the equipment they need. Lots of people have used or unused fishing equipment gathering dust in the garage or the basement, and I want to re-distribute that equipment to kids who will put it to good use,” he explained.
Iaconelli, an eight time Bassmaster champion who often receives equipment from sponsors and vendors, is donating his own equipment to start the foundation program. “I think pro anglers, amateurs and recreational fishermen alike will want to do the same,” he said.
“The mission for us, as The Ike Foundation, is to make it happen–arrange the logistics to collect the equipment, check it, organize it and ready it for shipping to a group of kids. On the flip side, the foundation needs to identify the organizations that have fishing programs (or will start one), determine the equipment they need, match it against our inventory, and get it to them.”
“I’m hopeful fishermen around the county will pitch in and either take a kid fishing or help a local group take kids fishing,” he added. To that end, Iaconelli has placed a Fishing Pledge certificate on his website.
Interested fisherman can use the certificate as a promise to take a kid fishing, giving it to the child or to an organization. The certificate is free and available at MikeIaconelli.com/IkeFoundation.
Currently, the foundation is establishing the process for accepting gifts of used or new equipment. Tax deductible monetary donations are being accepted now via credit card at MikeIaconelli.com/IkeFoundation and via checks to The Ike Foundation, P.O. Box 818, 625 N. Main Street, Elmer, NJ, 08318. Contributions go toward the costs of purchasing and shipping equipment to youth fishing organizations.
Organizations that want to be considered for a gift of fishing equipment or support can apply online, using the form at MikeIaconelli.com/IkeFoundation. “As the foundation grows, we want to reach out to organizations to help them expand their fishing programs and youth participation through events, fund-raisers and tournaments, Iaconelli said.
“The foundation has been a dream of mine for a long time, and it is a good feeling to see it finally come into existence. We have big plans for getting new kids fishing,” he concluded.
The Ike Foundation
Established in July 2014, The Ike Foundation is an IRS registered 501(c)3, non-profit foundation focused on promoting the sport of fishing to America’s youth and developing their appreciation of the outdoors and our country’s natural resources. Trustees include Michael J. Iaconelli, foundation president, Rebecca Iaconelli, secretary and Carol Muracco, treasurer. Gifts to the Ike Foundation are fully tax deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.