As registration opens today for the second annual Iowa Ladies Football Academy, set for June 9, the event’s organizers have announced a five-year, $1 million pledge toward the construction of the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
In partnership with the UI football program, the Iowa Ladies Football Academy offers women an intensive one-day immersion in the Hawkeye football experience—and the opportunity to benefit UI Children’s Hospital through their personal fundraising. Nearly 300 participants raised more than $150,000 at the inaugural academy in June 2011. Leaders of the 2012 Iowa Ladies Football Academy anticipate even more impressive numbers this year.
Mary Ferentz, chair of the UI Children’s Hospital Council, and her husband, UI Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz, described the significance to them of this gift commitment.
“It is especially meaningful to us that our time associated with the university be defined by more than X’s and O’s and wins and losses,” says Mary Ferentz. “We are very pleased to be part of the Ladies Football Academy’s pledge for UI Children’s Hospital, and we look forward to the group’s recognition in the new facility. It is a collective effort all the way, from the coaches, players, planning committee, and volunteers, to the hundreds of women who will participate in this event.”
Kirk Ferentz adds, “All of us involved with this project are grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of sick and injured children. Mary and I and the entire Iowa football family have been enriched by the experience and are very proud to be a part of it.”
The planned new UI Children’s Hospital will be an 11-story, 213-bed, 371,600-square-foot building located adjacent to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, just east of Kinnick Stadium. It also will include 56,250 square feet of renovated space in the existing facility. The new UI Children’s Hospital will have dedicated operating rooms, procedure suites, pediatric clinical services, and support spaces for patients and families such as classrooms and an outdoor healing garden. Plans call for groundbreaking in the coming year and completion of the new hospital in 2016.
“The new UI Children’s Hospital represents a significant step forward in creating a system of care for Iowa’s children, and this very generous $1 million commitment from the Iowa Ladies Football Academy gives us great momentum in our fundraising efforts for the new children’s hospital,” says Jean E. Robillard, M.D., UI vice president for medical affairs. “All the women taking part in this special event should know that while they are engaging in football drills and running through plays, they can be proud of their hard work off the field, too, and be confident that their efforts will be a game-changer in the lives of our pediatric patients and their families.”
Online registration and other information about the academy can be found on its website, www.iowaladiesfootballacademy.com.