Missouri Valley Conference Joins With Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation in its First Foray Into College Sports
VFW Foundation’s Return the Favor Campaign to Receive Big Boost During Conference Basketball Season; First-of-its-Kind Platform in D-1 College Athletics

ST. LOUIS (Oct. 10, 2011) – The Missouri Valley Conference announced today a brand-new partnership with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, allowing fans of its 10 member schools an exclusive platform to honor America’s military throughout the 2011-’12 basketball season when it tips off on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11.

This marks the VFW Foundation’s first entry into collegiate sports marketing, a move the organization believes will bolster awareness for VFW military support programs through the “Return the Favor Charity Stripe Campaign” centerpiece initiative. It will launch in connection with the start of college hoops and culminate at Arch Madness in St. Louis.

“The VFW Foundation could not be more excited for this partnership,” said Dustin Kuhn, manager of corporate relations for the Kansas City, Mo.-based VFW Foundation. “The Missouri Valley Conference has some of the most passionate fans in college basketball, and I know they understand the need to support those who have protected our country’s freedoms. With the Midwest home to our national headquarters, this is a natural fit for us, and we look forward to joining forces with the MVC in returning the favor to our nation’s heroes.”

The “Return the Favor Charity Stripe Campaign” stands as the driving philanthropic element behind the MVC-VFW Foundation partnership, and corporate sponsors, area businesses and MVC basketball fans will be encouraged all season to pledge money for every free throw made. One-time gift contributions also can be made through in-venue donation programs at concessions stands and other avenues. At the campaign conclusion, MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin will honor the VFW Foundation with a check presentation ceremony during the championship game of the State Farm MVC Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 4, 2012.

All proceeds will benefit the Return the Favor campaign, which honors, celebrates and supports active-duty military members, veterans, and their families. Return the Favor supports programs and services that provide financial assistance for military families, free phone calls for service members overseas, VIP treatment for troops and their families at entertainment events, and morale boosting events for military units.

“The VFW Foundation partnership is a truly outstanding opportunity for the Missouri Valley Conference and its institutions,” said Elgin. “We are extremely proud to note that this is the first of its kind in Division I athletics. The Valley has always had a league that stands together, but this will be the ultimate example of solidarity and patriotism as our fans and university communities unite to back an initiative like this together.”

In addition, MVC will spearhead “Military Appreciation Days” at its member institutions, with collaboration and involvement from local veterans and the VFW Foundation in various on-campus events. There also will be a coordinated in-arena promotion featuring an on-court presentation to honor VFW and military men, women and their families in attendance. The VFW Foundation-MVC partnership will be reinforced throughout the season and during the State Farm MVC Tournament, with an integrated series of partnership benefits that include commercial inventory on national men’s and women’s basketball telecasts; exposure with ESPN Radio and local and regional television networks such as FS Midwest and FS KansasCity; awareness and promotion through MVCSports.com and conference social media channels; in-arena digital signage and public address announcements; hospitality and other VIP experiences for selected military personnel.

About Missouri Valley Conference:
The 10 Missouri Valley Conference member institutions are Bradley (Peoria, Ill.); Indiana State (Terre Haute, Ind.); Creighton (Omaha, Neb.); Missouri State (Springfield, Mo.); Drake (Des Moines, Iowa); Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa); Evansville (Evansville, Ind.); Southern Illinois (Carbondale, Ill.); Illinois State (Normal, Ill.) and Wichita State (Wichita, Kan.).

About MVC Sports Properties:
The VFW Foundation partnership was secured by MVC Sports Properties, the marketing and management arm for the Conference. MVC Sports Properties also is a property of Learfield Sports, a collegiate multimedia rights holder with more than 50 properties in its portfolio. Its other conference relationships include the WAC and the Big Ten, and it manages the respective multimedia rights for MVC member institutions Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois. For more about Learfield Sports’ history and complete collegiate portfolio, visit www.learfieldsports.com.

About Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation:
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation is the official charity of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), America’s oldest and largest organization for combat veterans. Return the Favor is an awareness and fundraising campaign to honor, celebrate, and support active-duty military members, veterans, and their families. Our mission is to support programs and services that provide financial assistance for military families, free phone calls for service members overseas, VIP treatment for troops and their families at entertainment events, and morale boosting events for military units. These programs and services are provided at no cost to the recipients. The VFW Foundation is one of the nation’s highest rated 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations. For more information, please visit www.vfwfoundation.org.