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TFK Corner: News and Events

TFK’S Twin Cities Event : A Smashing Success

The first annual Ticket to the Twin Cities presented by PNC took place on a beautiful June day in Minnesota and brought together TFK ticket providers, sponsors, agency partners, and the Twin Cities community.

Hundreds of families participated in a day of kid-friendly games, activities, food, and fun. It was a great opportunity to make a personal connection, put a face to a name, and appreciate everyone who makes the Tickets for Kids program available to kids in the Twin Cities.

Thanks to all the attendees, sponsors, and volunteers who helped to make the day great; it was successful because of you!

Meet Our Photographer: Zay Manley


A couple of years ago, 13-year-old Zay Manley started taking photos in school and fell in love with photography. His passion, along with his TFK history, led him to participate in the first Ticket to the Twin Cities event.

“When we relocated to Minnesota, we didn’t know anyone, were not familiar with the city, and were financially struggling” explained, Sarah Manley, Zay’s mom.
“During that time, we received tickets to a Twins game. That experience alone showed a world that we were unaware of. Since then, our finances have improved dramatically. We got involved as volunteers with Tickets for Kids to give back to an organization that gave something so important, yet intangible to us.”
“Zay truly enjoys volunteering for TFK and the pictures allow him to document the faces of impacted people.”

You can follow Zay’s photography on Instagram at: sevenflames7photography

ALCOSAN Jeans Day Will Benefit TFK – Again

A casual day at ALCOSAN will make for another great day at Tickets for Kids!

For the second year in a row, the generous employees of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority will pay $5 each to wear their favorite comfy jeans to work, then donate the collected funds to TFK. Last year, donations from the Jeans Day program resulted in a $1,365 contribution to Tickets for Kids!

Started in January 2017, ALCOSAN’s Jeans Day program usually attracts between 60-90 participants who are eager to do good while dressing down.

“When determining what charities to support, we focus on local organizations that do good work in our community,” said Susan Mannella, Manager of Communications. “Everybody wants to support children, so Tickets for Kids was a good fit.”

In addition to providing wastewater treatment services to 83 Pittsburgh-area municipalities, ALCOSAN is an active community partner.

“ALCOSAN is eager to improve the lives of children in our community,” Mannella continued. “We provide in-school and after-school programming for students in pre-school through high school, but it is important for children to have fun experiences that extend beyond traditional educational activities.”

Tickets for Kids is grateful for ALCOSAN’s support and partnership. We look forward to sharing the opportunities their contribution will provide with the kids and families we serve!

TFK’s Super Bowl Surprise

Are you ready for the big game? This TFK Kid is!

Tickets for Kids surprises a mentor and mentee pair with tickets to the Super Bowl

What are your plans for Super Bowl Sunday? If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be gathered on the couch with friends and family, rooting for the Eagles or Patriots, judging the commercials, and enjoying what’s likely to be an over-the-top halftime show.

But thanks to a very generous donation from a close friend of Tickets for Kids in Minneapolis, one lucky TFK Kid and his mentor from Saint Paul, MN, will be off the couch and at the game IRL (in real life!).

Twelve-year-old Jayden is a huge football fan and has never had the opportunity to experience a live NFL game. This week he learned that he'll be watching his favorite team, the New England Patriots, and his favorite player, Tom Brady, when Super Bowl LII kicks off at U.S. Bank Stadium. There's no doubt he'll be inspired by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just look at his reaction when surprised with the tickets while attending the Super Bowl Live Experience in downtown Minneapolis:

The moment of surprise

We can all likely remember an experience from our childhood that inspired us to dream bigger. Whether you were interested in theater, museums, the zoo, or sports, these experiences inspired your ideas for the future and shaped who you became as an adult. Although sending a kid to the Super Bowl is an extreme example – and a first in our 24-year history – Tickets for Kids provides opportunities like this every day by partnering with more than 3,000 youth-serving organizations all over the country.

Does this inspire you to dream of a community that can provide inclusive opportunities for all of its residents? Join us in reaching thousands more kids this year by donating here.

Off Script: Panthers Partner with TFK

"Across the country, sporting events bring individuals of all backgrounds together. Whether its summer nights at a baseball game, or winter evenings in a hockey arena, sports have the ability to unify a population through shared fandom and experience.

With growing costs and a high demand, these events may not be as readily available to some members of a community's population. Pittsburgh, however, is at the forefront of changing this trend, headed by the Tickets for Kids Foundation."

The Sweat Pants Dance

The Sweat Pants Dance

September 14, 2017

THANK YOU for putting on your favorite fitness wear and joining TFK to celebrate the opportunities you help provide for kids to run, jump, skip, hop, dance, dangle, and move!

Event Photos

TFK Growing in Size and Impact

Executive Director, Jason J. Riley, joined Our Regions Business to share why the Pittsburgh-based non-profit merged with Minnesota-based Tix for Tots to put more tickets into the hands of kids across the country.

Minnesota Golf Classic

Thank you to our sponsors, golfers, volunteers, and all the attendees who supported the 8th Annual Tickets for Kids Golf Classic

Monday, July 17, 2017

Minneapolis Golf Club
Minneapolis, MN

2017 Idlewild Ticket Sales

Thank you for your support of TFK through purchasing Idlewild tickets this summer!

You helped create #TFKsummerfun for so many TFK Kids this season.

Sports Night in Minnesota

Thank you to our sponsors, panelists, volunteers, and all the attendees who supported Tickets for Kids and made Sports Night in Minnesota a successful event!

Event Photos

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

5:30 - 8:30 PM

Target Field, Metropolitan Room

Minneapolis, MN

2017 EMCEE
Chris Long from KSTP
2017 Panelists
Juan Berenguer
1987 World Champion Twins Pitcher

John Thomas
Former Gopher Basketball & NBA Player
Manny Lagos
Former MLS Player & MN United Sporting Director @manny_lagos

Tony Sanneh
Retired Soccer Player @TonySanneh
Dr. Leo Lewis
Former MN Vikings Wide Receiver

Howard Sinker
MPR & Star Tribune @afansview

TFK and Minneapolis-Based Tix for Tots Join Forces

We’re starting off the year with big news at TFK! On January 1, 2017, we merged Minneapolis-based Tix for Tots into the organization. After more than two years of exploration and discussion, all agreed that our two organizations, with nearly identical missions, would be able to create even more opportunities for disadvantaged kids by joining forces. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our Twin Cities staff, Betsy Tate Anderson and Emily Wilant to the Tickets for Kids family. You can read the official news release is below.

16-tfk-staff-editedPictured left to right: Jason J. Riley, Margaret Haselhoff, Anita Coates, Barbara Steving, Carolyn Falk, Meryl Hellring, Emily Wilant, Dan Fang, Betsy Tate Anderson and Chris Anderson (no relation).

Pittsburgh — (January 4, 2017) Tickets for Kids® Charities (TFK) announced today that it has merged Minneapolis-based Tix for Tots into the organization.

Founded in Pittsburgh in 1994, TFK provides opportunities for low-income and at-risk kids to access the cultural, arts, sports and entertainment venues of their communities through partnership with social service agencies and ticket donors. Since its inception, TFK has distributed more than 2 million tickets valued in excess of $48 million. Last year, approximately 165,000 tickets were donated to the organization(s) from individuals and institutions alike, then distributed to children through vetted social service agency partners.

“This merger will not only result in a stronger organization, but it will enhance our ability to impact the lives of low-income and at-risk kids across the country,” said TFK Executive Director Jason J. Riley. “We’ll be able to provide our services in the most efficient way possible.”

Tix for Tots, serving greater Minneapolis-St. Paul, worked with a parallel vision and mission to Tickets for Kids since 2000. The two organizations first worked together in 2014, when Major League Baseball’s FanFest took place in Minneapolis. While collaborating to distribute no-cost tickets to under-resourced kids for the baseball-themed convention, a vision to expand through a combined effort began to form.

On January 1st, Tix for Tots ceased to be a legal entity, and its programs are now under the brand and governance of Tickets for Kids.

“This endeavor will allow us to impact thousands more kids across the country,” said Tix for Tots founder Robb Neuenschwander. “I couldn’t be happier to take this next step in our evolution.”

“By providing the ticket opportunities through our partnerships with more than 3,500 social service agencies, we’re able to facilitate experiences to art, culture, sport and entertainment in the context of an established support system … one that can foster the growth of an interest inspired by a kid’s first experience at the theater, science center, or ballpark,” said Riley.

Prior to the merger, TFK had grown its national scope through partnerships with ticket providers such as Major League Baseball, Feld Entertainment, Inc. (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, Monster Jam), and Cirque du Soleil. Last November, TFK established its first remote-staff presence in Philadelphia. With the merger of Tix for Tots into the organization, TFK will acquire staff in the Twin Cities, who will work to deepen Tickets for Kids’ mid-west relationships, outreach and impact.

Rhythm & Blues News

The Relics

One of the very nice things that happens when you’re a small nonprofit is good people want to do nice things for you, sometimes without even being asked!

Such was the case with Jeff Ritter, all-around nice person and guitarist with local Pittsburgh band The Relics. Jeff and his bandmates found TFK online and, liking our mission, decided to donate the proceeds from their November 5th gig at Moondogs Pub in Blawnox to TFK.

“We like to do charity gigs,” says Ritter. “We like the nonprofit to invite their constituents, volunteers, staff – everybody. It’s a great excuse for a party!”

The members of The Relics have been together in their current configuration for about a year, but all of the musicians bring decades of playing rhythm, blues and rock ‘n roll to each of their performances. “Some of the guys have been playing together for years and years and years … and years,” Ritter says.

When not gigging together for a good cause, band members can be found working their day jobs, which range from being a Humanities Department Chair at a local university to working at a movie set construction company. But when the music starts, Ritter describes their sound as  “great blues, loose, strong rhythm section and a few great singers, all in one place!”

Post-Script: Thank you to everyone who came out to support TFK and hear this great band. A good time was had by all, and $530 was collected for the cause!


Rock the Boat


Thank you to everyone who made ROCK THE BOAT a great success,

including our generous event sponsors!

Silver Sponsor

Feld Entertainment®

Bronze Sponsors

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Huntington Bank

Additional Supporters

Normandy Industries
The Wilson Group
Woodland Management



Where we’ve been, and where we’re going

Before TFK goes speeding headlong into 2016, there are a few milestones from the year that just sped past worthy of some recognition.

While the first two quarters of 2015 passed with relative calm, growth and change were on the calendar for the second half of the year. In July, TFK welcomed Philadelphia transplant Jason Riley as our new executive director. Jason arrived just in time to meet and greet hometown hero and “Kinky Boots” star Billy Porter, who was the special guest at our Boots, Bubbly & Billy fundraiser on August 6th.

Soon after, Jason was off and running to Washington, D.C., to take part in White House Astronomy Night in October. The invitation came as a result of an exciting new partnership with Bayer USA Foundation and their  Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) program, which provides meaningful, hands-on science learning experiences for in-need and at-risk children.

Also in October, Margaret Haselhoff joined the organization as development and communications coordinator, bringing her considerable experience from development positions at Imani Christian Academy and Auberle (two of our partner agencies!). In November and December we were very fortunate (and grateful) to receive a record-breaking number of contributions in response to our Annual Appeal, and our final ticket distribution total for 2015 was more than 127,000.

The New Year began with just as much activity with the acquisition of Anita Coates as program associate on January 11th. Plans are already in the works for our 2016 Hot Ticket Fundraiser, which will take place on the Gateway Clipper Fleet (stay tuned for more details), and new and exciting ticket partnerships are now forming that will provide even more opportunities for children and families in 2016.  Now, full speed ahead!


Pirates Charities’ CARE-a-van Benefits TFK Kids

For the second consecutive year, Pirates Charities (the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team) treated a lucky group of TFK Kids for a day of fun and fellowship as part of their annual three-day CARE-a-van event.

On December 11, CARE-a-van participants, which included current and former team players and managers, hosted a group of 25 7- to 13-year-olds at Swissvale Arcade Lanes. Players bowled with the kids, treated them to a pizza lunch and sent them home with warm coats and other gifts.

Last year, the CARE-a-van took part in more than 20 private community events over three days leading up to the PirateFest, presented by T-Mobile.

A total of 11 cities in the greater Pittsburgh area were impacted, including stops in Altoona and Butler, Pennsylvania, Youngstown, Ohio and Wheeling, WV. TFK is delighted to be part of this generous program again this year.




Tickets for Kids® Charities receives Bayer grant to support STEM learning

Tickets for Kids® Charities (TFK) has received a $150,000 grant from the Bayer USA Foundation to facilitate a new initiative of Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) program, which will provide meaningful, hands-on science learning experiences for in-need and at-risk children. Utilizing TFK’s national network of more than 3,000 social service agencies, children will receive no-cost tickets and admissions to venues offering programming in science, technology, engineering and math.

This funding expands the reach of Making Science Make Sense®, which was established to advance science literacy across the United States. To celebrate the program’s 20th year, Bayer is asking people of all ages to share a “thank you” message at or via social media at #SayTkU, acknowledging someone who has inspired scientific imagination and helped to make science make sense in their life.
For each “thank you” message shared from September 9 through October 30, Bayer will provide free admission to a STEM venue for a child (up to 25,000 admissions). These experiences, which may include a day-long adventure at a local science museum or other place of scientific discovery, are intended to not only educate, but also inspire further science-focused exploration and spread the message that science is, truly, all around us.

“We’re honored to be partnering with Bayer USA Foundation to mark this important milestone,” said Tickets for Kids’ Executive Director Jason J. Riley. “The opportunities that have been created over the last 20 years through the Making Science Make Sense® initiative speak directly to our mission – to create equitable access for all children to experiences that inspire. We’re grateful for this support and look forward to the many new opportunities it will provide.”



A fundraiser to benefit Ticket for Kids® Charities











Thanks to everyone who attended this sell-out event.

Billy Porter