Hallmark Reaches Youth By Hosting Champions in Hometown
For the first time in 30 years, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships returned to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2017. As part of their long standing tradition of supporting local and national events in its hometown, Hallmark and Crown Center served as the local presenting partners of the event.
“U.S. Figure Skating was incredibly excited about having Hallmark on board as a sponsor,” said Katherine Holland, director, marketing and sales for the Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation, noting how selective the organization is about their affiliations.
During the championships, Crown Center’s Ice Terrace was utilized for free instructional events, including a Learn-to-Skate program, and Sk8 to Elimin8 Cancer, a program from Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton’s CARES Foundation, which creates opportunities for communities to come together on ice to raise money to fund cancer research and education.
Hallmark Retail also donated thousands of its plush itty bittys® characters for attendees of the championships to toss on the ice after their favorite skater competed. After the events, additional plush toys were donated to Children’s Mercy Hospital, the children’s ward at the University of Kansas Hospital and Operation Breakthrough, an organization that provides safe, loving and educational environments for kids in poverty.
“The partnership was a really nice way of engaging a strong local Kansas City brand with three great organizations that help and support children,” added Holland. Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano, who won his first national championship in Kansas City the last time the city hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1985, visited the University of Kansas Hospital to hand out some of the toys in person and speak with the children and their families.
In addition, former two-time U.S. National Champion skater and Kansas City native John Coughlin distributed itty bittys® at Operation Breakthrough and Children’s Mercy Hospital.
“We were out here sharing the love and trying to bring some smiles to the kids’ faces here in Kansas City because that’s really what it’s about,” said Coughlin. “It’s a fight and a struggle every day for these kids and to be able to put a smile on their face and to partner with U.S. Figure Skating and Hallmark to make that happen is wonderful.”