Former Cleveland star athlete making sure underserved youth get the same opportunity
TUFF founder Adam Shibley makes sure others get uniform after wearing ones at St. Ignatius, Michigan, and Notre Dame
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The idea was formed nearly two years after he saw kids fundraising for youth football a block from St. Ignatius while he played linebacker for the Wildcats.
In 2018, Adam Shibley teamed up with Michigan teammates Joel Honigford and Jess Speight to bring TUFF to life.
“Uniforms are an entry point into lower participation fees for a lot the children we affect,” said Shibley, who founded The Uniform Funding Foundation -- TUFF -- while a student-athlete at the University of Michigan.
The international non-profit has raised $575,000 since its inception with about $100,000 staying in Northeast Ohio, helping about 1,000 young athletes, many in the Cleveland Municipal Football League.
“Plenty of teams in that league have needed help with fundraising for helmets, uniforms, other accessories that aren’t very attainable in that league,” he said.
TUFF has also provided uniforms for the East Tech High School girls basketball team and other Cleveland Senate League programs.
TUFF’s Super Bowl takes place Saturday at the Breen Center with kids in a different type of uniform, formal attire at a free red carpet event to announce Mr. Prodigy.
“This will be our third annual,” said Shibley. “That’s equivalent of the Heisman Award given to the best player that’s in the 13U division.”
Current NFL players and Michigan graduates Chris Glaser of the Jets, a Solon graduate, and Andrew Stueber of the Patriots, Ben Mason and Josh Ross of the Ravens will attend.
Former NFL star Ted Ginn, Jr. will also be there along with about 30 current Division I players, including Ohio State Linebacker and Co-Captain Tommy Eichenberg.
TUFF’s committed to uniforms, equipment, and mentorship year-round and one night to make everyone a winner.
“We’re just creating excitement and an unforgettable experience for all of the finalists and their families.”
TUFF wants to raise about $8,000 Saturday at the event. You can donate to TUFF at the event or online to support youth athletics.
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