The Heisman Trophy Trust has donated to hundreds of charitable causes since its inception in 2001.
While some of that largesse has gone to high profile foundations, including those of former Heisman winners, there are dozens of smaller charities that the Trust works with that deserve recognition for the important work they do.
One of those organizations is Chess-in-the-Schools, which has has taught, inspired, and empowered more than 500,000 students in Title I New York City public schools since starting up in 1986. Through structured classroom, after-school, weekend, and summer programs, the program uses chess as an educational tool to promote learning and to help young people develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving.
The concept is simple: Chess helps promote intellectual growth and has been shown to improve academic performance. Various studies demonstrate that students who participated in the chess program showed improved scores on standardized tests. The gains were even greater among children with low or average initial scores. Children who were in the non-chess playing control group showed no gains.
The ultimate goal is for alumni of the program to be analytic thinkers, motivated learners, critical problem solvers, to think before they move, to take pride in their accomplishments and to be graceful winners and losers. It’s hard to find a program with better goals, which is why the Heisman Trust became a supporter.
This past year, the Trust sponsored one of the Chess-in-the-Schools tournaments. There are 30+ chess tournaments throughout the academic year via the program, with each drawing between 400 and 600 players from kindergarten through high school. Many of the students say that competition is their favorite part of the program. It gives them an opportunity to test and showcase their skills in front of teachers, peers, and parents.
Are you interested in joining the Heisman Trophy Trust as a supporter of Chess-in-the-Schools? If so, click here.
Check out this inspiring video on Chess-in-the-Schools: