Celebrating 38 Years of Service and Commitment to the Community

Michigan Jewish Sports Founders

What can be said about an organization that raises money to give away?

The Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation has been doing just that since 1984 when Alvin Foon came up with the novel idea to form just such a group. At first everyone thought he was kidding. But he persisted, and after some cajoling, five of his friends – Seymour Brode, Mickey Fishman, Billy Jacobs, Myron Milgrom and Robert Steinberg – got on board. Together they worked tirelessly to build a small, vibrant organization called the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, created to both honor Jewish individuals who have distinguished themselves as athletes within the state of Michigan and to foster Jewish identity through athletics. The name was changed in 1998 to the Michigan Jewish Sports foundation to more accurately represent the full spectrum of sponsored activities but the rest, as they say, is history. Little did these six men realize that the organization they were starting would develop into one of the Detroit Jewish community’s most successful philanthropic entities.

Since 1984, thanks to the generosity of many and through annual fund raising initiatives, the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation’s activities and charitable contributions are many.

The Hank Greenberg Memorial Golf and Tennis Invitational, with the unfailing support of Hank’s son, Steve Greenberg, has brought an incomparable succession of baseball all-stars to metro Detroit to play golf and mingle with their fans. Hall-of-Famers such as Sandy Koufax, Cal Ripken, Jr., Joe Garagiola, Tommy Lasorda, Ernie Banks, Dave Winfield, Brooks Robinson and too many more to mention. Then when good friend Dick Schaap passed away, an award was added to honor a member of the media who exemplifies the characteristics that so distinguished Dick’s career. Jeremy Schaap has taken his father’s place, hosting winners of this award, who include James Brown, Bob Ryan, and Roy Firestone, to name just a few. With great food and stars galore, this premiere event is a don’t miss highlight of the summer, with proceeds benefitting prostate and cancer-related charities!

The Hall of Fame Induction Dinner truly exemplifies the original goal of our founders as athletes, from Michigan or with a Michigan connection, are honored for their achievements. The Hall of Fame boasts over 100 plaques of sports notables, including Hank Greenberg, Bill Davidson, Aaron Krickstein, and Jackie Kallen, as well as plaques honoring Alvin Foon Award recipients Mike llitch, Ernie Harwell, Bo Schembechler, Gordie and Colleen Howe, Tom Izzo, Sparky Anderson, Steve Yzerman and Book of Life winner Muhammad Ali. Also housed in the Hall of Fame are plaques honoring the Jewish News High School Athletes of the Year, The Dr. Steven (Z”L) and Evelyn Rosen Stars of Tomorrow Scholars, and the Bill Hertz Memorial Scholarship winners.

Thanks To These Events, The Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation’s Charitable Giving Has Included:
(to name just a few)

  • Donating over one million dollars to help battle cancer through contributions to the Barbara Ann Karma nos Cancer Institute that supports technological innovations at the Lawrence and Idell Weisberg Cancer Center in West Bloomfield and other cancer charities.
  • $100,000 to the Karmanos Genetic Counseling Service, an important initiative that provides genetic counseling and screening for anyone concerned about their risk of developing cancer.
  • The Jewish News High School Athletes of the Year program
  • Thousands of dollars in college scholarships, named after Bill Hertz, an original MJSF board member. Sending thousands of special needs and underprivileged children to camp.
  • Founding contributor to Kids Kicking Cancer
  • Honoring those who have made a difference in the lives of others.
  • And so much more

A Hall of Fame … annually raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer … providing funds for college and camp scholarships … sponsoring programs at the JCC … bringing famous athletes to the area – quite a legacy for six men who took a simple idea and nurtured its growth into a major accomplishment. Six men, whose collective vision has left an indelible mark on our Jewish community, not just for now, but for as long as there are men and women, boys and girls, who eagerly and valiantly compete on their fields of dreams.