Sioux Falls, SD— 2015 will perhaps go down as the most memorable and rewarding season in Sioux Falls Storm history! On the field, the football club went unbeaten during the 14-game regular season schedule and picked up two more wins during the post-season to capture their fifth straight IFL United Bowl Championship in a row (9th overall in the last 11 seasons).

Away from the field, the Storm organization came through like “Champions” for the community, donating $121,435.22 in cash contributions to area charitable groups and local families in need not to mention the numerous team appearance requests that were fulfilled at charitable events attended by the Storm Lightning Girls Cheer Team, Storm Promo Girls and Storm Players. The Indoor Football League awarded the Storm franchise with the 2015 “Community Team-of-the-Year Award” as a result of their efforts.

At each home game starting with the February 15th pre-season game, the Storm hosted a fundraiser. The first event was in partnership with Arby’s Restaurant to help support the Sioux Falls BackPack Program that raised $11,213.

At the season home opener (March 28), the Storm worked up a private fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of the Sioux Empire that was held in conjunction with NFL Star Riley Reiff of the Detroit Lions. The Storm presented the B&GCSE with a donation check for $1,000 and saw several hundreds of kids be able to enjoy a Storm game as a result.

Through the Storm’s fundraising effort, a sixth grade student from Memorial Middle School received a customized new handicap accessible bicycle-wheelchair combo that was presented on the field at the April 11th home game. The fundraiser generated over $6,000 dollars which paid for the bicycle and allowed the Storm to donate a surplus amount of funds back to the school to use for playground equipment and other internal items of need.

During the Storm home game on Friday, May 8th, the organization rallied around Quinn Pesicka, a 9-year-old Sioux Falls elementary school student at R.F. Pettigrew who was diagnosed with brain cancer. The club donated portions of their game ticket revenue and held a special Touchdown Drive promotion to go with a Silent Auction of sports memorabilia and local gifts. The fundraiser generated close to $27,000 to help support the Quinn Pesicka Benefit Fund.

The Storm came to aid of the people that live in Delmont, SD immediately following the news of the Tornado that struck their community. The Storm donated several hundreds of dollars in ticket sales revenue to the Disaster Relief Fund established by the American Red Cross from the May 16th home game.

The Storm held two different Jersey Raffles during the season in which the players took off their game-worn uniforms and handed them to the fans that supported a raffle sale. The beneficiaries were the American Cancer Society on May 16th during a “Fight Against Cancer” night promotion and Operation Homefront on June 6th during a Military Night fundraiser. Operation Homefront provides emergency financial, counseling and recovery support for service men & women in the Military.

The Storm partnered with Johnstone Supply Company and Coleman Heating & Air Conditioning on June 10th for the first annual “Chip In For Heroes” golf outing. The event brought in a donation in excess of $12,000 for Operation Homefront.

As the season was winding down, the Storm generated $15,000 to help Sioux Falls Firefighter Dustin Luebke fight his battle against Leukemia on June 20th. The club donated over $12,000 to support two local Sioux Falls families and their charity funds – Joan Beaner and Katie Martindale – during the team’s IFL Conference Playoff Final on June 27th. Then during the actual IFL United Bowl Championship Game on July 11th, the Storm promoted the night as a “Champions for the Community” and staged four individual fundraisers during the game and donated close to $13,000 to help benefit three causes (Olivia Slocum Cancer Fund, Braxton Novak Fund & Sarah White-Young Education Fund) and one charitable organization (St. Francis House).

Throughout the season, the marketing arm behind the club’s fundraising efforts was due in part to the newly-created TAKEN BY STORM COMMUNITY FUND, which was developed by the Storm organization prior to the start of the 2015 season. The Fund was supported by Storm team ownership as well as a $3,600 contributions made by CenturyLink, which sponsored the Storm ThunderBall Toss at every home game and matched all fundraising revenue brought in from each promotion.

The Lewis Stores sold Storm sponsored grocery product items all season that feature a special “Taken By Storm Fund Sticker” on such popular brands as Country Hearth Bread, Frito-Lay, Land O’Lakes, Our Family Macaroni & Cheese and Pepsi Beverages and with the support of the participating store vendors, a percentage of every sale was provided to the “Taken By Storm Fund”.

“It has been a fantastic season on and off the field,” said Jim Loria, the Storm’s Director of Corporate Partnerships. “We can never control the outcome of the games on the field but we can certainly impact the outcome away from it. Thanks to Todd Tryon (Storm Owner), the organization has significantly raised the bar for community contributions for area sports teams and within the Indoor Football League and we expect to raise that bar each and every year going forward.”

** Information provided by Jim Loria and the Sioux Falls Storm