NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 01: Tuomo Ruutu #15 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates against Jordin Tootoo #22 of the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena on October 1, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Chalk up another big assist to Jordin Tootoo today.
His charitable foundation, the Team Tootoo Fund, has made a grant to The Jason Foundation, "an educational organization dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide." Given Tootoo's personal history (published last year in a book for kids), and the suicide of his older brother Terence, it's a fitting way for Tootoo to turn a personal tragedy into something which might be able to help others.
The press release from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee follows...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Team Tootoo Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee announces its inaugural grant to support suicide prevention, an issue that many in our community, including Jordin Tootoo, know well. The $3,000 grant will support The Jason Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of youth suicide through awareness and education.
"It's been 10 years since my brother, Terence, passed away from suicide, and I want to do all I can to help educate kids there is light at the end of the tunnel," said Jordin Tootoo, a National Hockey League player for the Nashville Predators. "It's essential we get in front of kids about suicide prevention and let them know there are people who care."
Tootoo, the first Inuit to play in the NHL, originally hails from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, Canada - a country where suicide is among the 10 leading causes of death. According to HealthCanada, Inuit suicide rates are more than 11 times higher than the national average, and 83 percent of these are people under 30 years of age.
"We're very grateful to Jordin Tootoo for bringing a voice to this silent epidemic," said Clark Flatt, president of The Jason Foundation, Inc. "We need to teach people how to look out for friends, neighbors and students. We need to know warnings signs when we see or hear them."
Tootoo joined the Nashville Predators in 2003 and quickly adopted the Middle Tennessee community as his home. Tootoo established the Team Tootoo Fund at The Community Foundation with the goal of engaging fans and the community, and supporting causes important to him. Among the wide range of charitable issues the Team Tootoo Fund will help support are nonprofits addressing suicide awareness and prevention, as well as nonprofits supporting children and teens in need.
Tootoo's charitable contributions include volunteering at Salvation Army toy drives and donating equipment to youth hockey leagues. Recently, as part of the National Hockey League Players' Association Goals & Dreams program, Tootoo gave 32 sets of new hockey equipment to the Hall Beach Girls Hockey Association, located in a remote community in northern Canada.
More information about the Team Tootoo Fund is online, at www.cfmt.org/teamtootoofund.
About The Jason Foundation, Inc.
The Jason Foundation, Inc., (JFI) is a nationally recognized provider of educational curriculums and training programs for students, educators/youth workers and parents. JFI's programs build an awareness of the national health problem of youth suicide, educate participants in recognizing the "warning signs or signs of concern", provide information on identifying at-risk behavior and elevated risk groups, and direct participants to local resources to deal with possible suicidal ideation. JFI's student curriculums are presented in the "third-person" perspective - how to help a friend. The Jason Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit 501c3.
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee oversees more than 840 charitable funds, providing customized philanthropic solutions with flexibility for donors, nonprofit organizations and the community. In the past 20 years, The Community Foundation has distributed more than $556 million to community programs and institutions. It is located at3833 Cleghorn Avenue, #400, Nashville, Tennessee 37215. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit www.cfmt.org.