Kevin VanDam Foundation
When I was growing up in Michigan, I was fortunate to be surrounded by family members that loved and respected the outdoors. They made sure that tradition was passed along to me and my siblings.
When our twins were born 15 weeks premature we were lucky to have excellent support and care of our children’s hospital to get us through that very difficult time.
At that point we realized my career as a pro angler provided us a platform to help kids facing similar health issues and expose them to the outdoors.
That is why the Kevin VanDam Foundation was formed. Through our own financial support, fund-raising efforts and contributions from others, we believe we can make a difference by giving more kids a chance to experience the outdoors and, more importantly, appreciate and embrace conservation practices that will protect what we have.
We have made it a priority to screen the groups we help along the way and insure that every dollar is spent carefully and on worthy projects.
Through my own experiences and others like me, I’ve learned that the future of our natural resources lies in the hands of our youth.
We believe that giving children a chance in life to discover and enhance their own outdoor experiences will ignite that passion and help protect these great American values.
-- Kevin VanDam
March, 2017 update:
Big news. YOU could have the ultimate outdoors weekend... with me! We’ll stay at Big Cypress Lodge, go fishing, play some golf and MORE. It’s all to support the Kevin VanDam Foundation in our mission to help children in the areas of health, education and conservation. ENTER: http://bit.ly/UltimateOutdoorsWeekend
The Kevin VanDam Foundation was formed as a charitable vehicle to utilize VanDam’s legendary pro angler status to create more youth interest and involvement in conservation and the ethical use of natural resources.
His success and family-friendly personality has made him America’s most recognized fisherman and the most revered pro angler of our time.
Established in 2014, the Foundation has made several donations in the form of cash, scholarships and fishing equipment to worthy charity groups that best represent VanDam’s standards for excellence, family values and passion for the outdoors.
Among those groups include March of Dimes, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Bronson Children’s Hospital, the Michigan DNR Outdoor Adventure Center and provided grants to various youth camps.
In addition, collegiate scholarships have been awarded to young anglers within the Michigan Collegiate Bass Circuit. Plans are already in the works to expand the Foundation’s scholarship program.
Every nickel of each donation goes into these programs as there is no salaried director nor is there any administrative cost withheld. Sherry VanDam handles all the day-to-day administrative tasks with no cost to the foundation.
Some of the donations involve free youth fishing tackle for worthy groups. Because his long-standing reputation in the fishing tackle industry, VanDam can purchase equipment at substantial discounts through his relationships with industry leaders, increasing the value of each donor’s dollars.
“We believe that any child whom we can expose to a positive outdoors experience is likely to ignite his or her own love and respect for natural resources and carry that into adult life,” said VanDam.
VanDam launched his professional bass fishing career 27 years ago and has shattered several records along the way. In addition to winning 25 professional events, he’s won seven Angler of Year titles and won four Bassmaster Classic Championships.
Despite his busy touring schedule, VanDam takes time to visit Children’s Hospitals in host cities of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and has hosted sick children as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He and his wife Sherry committed themselves to youth causes in 1997 when their sons Jackson and Nicholas were born 15 weeks premature and spent 92 days in a Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit.
Today, those boys are healthy college students and enjoying a normal life thanks to modern day research that preceded their birth.
In 2016 the Foundation donated sophisticated camera equipment that will allow families to view their children in the Bronson Neonatal Intensive Care Unit even though they can’t physically be at the hospital.
The Foundation is fairly young but the VanDams are committed to expanding opportunities to help more kids nationally through innovative fund raising programs that are already in the works.
The Kevin VanDam Foundation is committed to supporting groups and organizations that give kids a chance to enjoy the woods and waters and preserve our bountiful natural resources with respect and integrity.
Recipients of charitable funds include
St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital
March of Dimes
Bronson Children’s Hospital
Pretty Lake Vacation Camp
Michigan DNR Outdoor Adventure Center
May 24, 2016 update:
Nineteen years ago today, we brought our boys home from the Bronson Children's Hospital NICU, 92 days after they were born. We will be forever grateful to the staff for the love and care we all received during that time. Today, Sherry and I along with the Kevin VanDam Foundation are making a donation for new camera technology to allow families to see their child even when they can not physically be there. This will allow the whole family to watch the care, growth, and procedures that take place while still providing the best environment for the baby to thrive. The people that work in these units all over are a very special group and perform miracles every day. After our own experience, Sherry and I hope this improvement will help other families during their time of need. Thank you to all the caregivers that helped our family and continue to help others every day. -- Kevin and Sherry VanDam
Make a Donation
To make a donation, please send check or money order to:
Kevin VanDam Foundation
9727 West FG Avenue
Kalamazoo Michigan 49004-8545
Make your check payable to The Kevin VanDam Foundation. 100% of your donation will go to our preferred charities. We strive to keep overhead low and help as many people as possible.
The Kevin VanDam Foundation is a 501C90 Charitable Trust. You will receive a statement/receipt of donation from the Kevin VanDam Foundation for tax purposes. Thank you for supporting the Kevin VanDam Foundation.
Kevin VanDam Scholarship