A newly-formed nonprofit aims to raise awareness for charitable causes throughout the state in a unique way. Hoosiers For Good Inc. says it will raise funds for Indiana nonprofits by engaging student-athletes from Indiana University who want to use their names, image, and likenesses to shine a spotlight on philanthropic work being done in Hoosier communities.
Pete Yonkman, president of Bloomington-based Cook Group, will serve as chair and president of Hoosiers For Good. He says collegiate athletes have an outsized voice in the community.
“With a new ability for college athletes to utilize their NIL, we see it as an opportunity,” Yonkman said at a news conference Tuesday. “If we can harness some of that spotlight that these athletes have and refocus it and shine it on our community partners who are doing this incredible work, we think we have a real shot and driving real value for our community and for people who need it most.”
Yonkman says the nonprofit will look for “stars” among the student-athletes at IU.
“A star is somebody who has a platform and a voice, who is passionate about making a difference in their community, and they want to drive real change, and they want to do that in a way that’s using their NIL for something good,” he said. “They also have to be committed to making real value for our charitable partners. We’re not looking for somebody who just wants to collect a check or just wants to sign an autograph and go home.”
Yonkman says a star could come from anywhere in the IU athletics department. Additionally, HFG is also including a charitable incubator that will provide grants for student-athletes who haven’t yet “found their voice” but want to learn how to contribute.
“It’s my hope that through this pathway, that if a student-athlete comes to Hoosiers For Good, this experience will set them on a trajectory that’s different than maybe what they were on before,” said Yonkman. “This trajectory might set them on a path to becoming a more community-minded leader. That’s something I think we need a lot more of these days.”
HFG will be led by Executive Director Tyler Harris, who most recently served as associate athletic director at IU, where he was involved in NIL matters for the university. The nonprofit says Harris will ensure that HFG clearly and transparently follows the laws and regulations regarding NIL.
Several Indiana charities have committed to partnering with HFG, including Riley Children’s Foundation, Fort Wayne-based Turnstone, Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County, Stop the Violence Indianapolis, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington.
“Hoosiers For Good has a tremendous opportunity to make a life-long impact on Indiana children,” Liz Elkas, president of Riley Children’s Foundation, said in written remarks. “Beyond generating awareness of our organization, every interaction between an IU student athlete and a Riley kid has the potential to lift spirits, inspire hope, and be a source of encouragement.”
Yonkman says the nonprofit is in the process of seeking 501(c)(3) status.