The Santa Clarita Skyhawks welcomed another strong community leader into their family today when it was announced that Jeffrey Shapiro, former Executive Director of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, was announced as team President. The move is expected to help the Skyhawks continue to build on what has already been a successful first year as the valley’s only charitable football team. Shapiro said the opportunity was surprising, but it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“ I was honored to be asked to join the Board and it was particularly unexpected when I was nominated to be President,” said the Santa Clarita resident and businessman of nearly twelve years. “It really is a thrill to work with people of such integrity and commitment. From the moment I met the principals involved with the team and then the players and coaches, I was drawn in with their passion–passion for sport, but even more importantly, their passion to do good, to give back.”
The Skyhawks were started in October of 2009, and from the start team founder Jamil Antoine wanted his team to play for a cause. That cause ended up being the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer, the area’s top supporter of children with cancer and their families. It was the partnership between the Skyhawks and the Hoefflin Foundation that introduced then Executive Director Shapiro to Antoine. From that point, Shapiro has worked closely with the team, helping them secure their 501c3 tax exemption status as an officially recognized non-profit organization. For the Skyhawks, the chance to bring Shapiro aboard full time was about more than football.
“For the Skyhawks, bringing Jeffrey aboard as our President was an easy decision. We have done an excellent job over the past year with our football operations and now it’s time to elevate our prestige as a reputable non-profit. Jeffrey’s proven non-profit leadership skills will help us achieve our goals and reach that next level,” Antoine said.
Shapiro’s first line of work is to improve the visibility of a team that the city has already embraced. He also plans on helping the team promote the game of football as something that can be competitive, yet also give those stricken by cancer something to believe in and be proud of. “The Skyhawks provide a model of sports, citizenship and commitment to the community. I hope that I can contribute to solidifying the strength, continuity and success of the organization while helping to promote the “Skyhawks Model” of playing sports for a cause,” Shapiro said.
Former Hart High and College of the Canyons athlete Jamil Antoine founded the Santa Clarita Skyhawks in the fall of 2009. The team has played in several games throughout California and Nevada promoting the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and giving children with cancer something to cheer for. The team is currently setting off on their fall campaign, which will see more games played throughout the west coast, allowing the Skyhawk family to continue to raise awareness and funds for the Hoefflin Foundation.