Selfless September Through the Decades
Pin Chasers has been helping the community for 60 years, sometimes by giving directly to organizations, other times by donating time and space for fundraising at their bowling centers. Through bowling, Pin Chasers has touched the lives of many people in the Tampa Bay area and enabled the community to help itself.
“Just like bowling, giving can be done by anyone of any age, size, ability or means,” said Anthony Perrone, Pin Chasers CEO. “We celebrate Selfless September to tell our story, in hopes of motivating others to do something nice for someone else.”
Assisting others is a well-established Pin Chasers’ tradition. Soon after Pin Chasers (then called Regal Lanes) opened in 1958, its league bowlers partnered to raise money for The Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL), which provides recreation therapy and camaraderie for veterans.
“The Bowlers to Veterans Link is in the business of brightening veterans’ — particularly wounded veterans’ — lives,” said Perrone. “Members of the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America manage The Bowlers to Veterans Link, and we’re proud to be part of that support for BVL.”
Pin Chasers has helped every kind of organization in the area directly or indirectly in its 60 years. Community relationships are the base on which Pin Chasers’ longevity stands.
In 2011, Pin Chasers started sponsoring the annual Pin Chasers Knight Parade, hosted by the Krewe of the Knights of Sant’ Yago. The Krewe of Sant’ Yago Education Foundation, a beneficiary of this parade (their largest fundraiser of the year), has provided more than a million dollars for local college and university scholarships.
The Turnaround Achievement Award program in Hillsborough County schools is another way Pin Chasers helps the community. Each year since 1986, teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators have selected middle- and high-school students who have made positive changes in their lives and who have committed to taking education seriously. Every spring, these students, along with their families and teachers, are honored at a banquet.
“Since there have always been plenty of awards for great students, we love this opportunity to celebrate students that have overcome so much in their lives to accomplish their goals,” said Perrone.
The program, developed in 1978 in Miami by Cloverleaf Lanes’ John Smith, was started in Hillsborough County in 1986 by Bob Jarlenski, a former Pin Chasers’ marketing and promotion director. At the time, the Turnaround Achievement Award was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Bowling Proprietors Association, and Pin Chasers’ Barbara Phillips (retired general manager and marketing executive) and Greg Pietz (retired general manager) were the program’s caretakers. Now the Turnaround Achievement Award is supported and sponsored solely by Pin Chasers, with Ethan Westfall, Pin Chasers-Veterans general manager, administering the program in conjunction with partners from Hillsborough County Public Schools.
“Although the other bowling proprietors didn’t want to participate anymore, we felt it was extremely important for us to continue to support the schools, students and their families,” said Perrone.
“Families and children have been the focus of most, but not all, of our community action and involvement,” said Perrone, “because families and children have been and continue to be so vital to our success.”
Pin Chasers’ biggest partner is Big Brothers Big Sisters, mostly through Bowl For Kids’ Sake, and, for the last five years, Pin Chasers has partnered with Apple a Day, which buys iPads for children in cancer treatment.
“We also help Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, which teaches young people to set goals, develop business acumen and be community-minded,” said Perrone said. “We’re extremely grateful to be part of what Junior Achievement does.”
One of the more direct ways Pin Chasers is involved in the community today is through their MOVE Academy, a program in which kids are taught to bowl in a league environment in a fun and safe setting.
“MOVE Academy gets kids moving, socializing with their peers, and developing a love for a sport they can enjoy playing their whole lives,” said Perrone. “And it’s free through 2020, in honor of Pin Chasers’ 60th anniversary. It may be our anniversary, but the community is getting the presents!”
Other area organizations and causes the Pin Chasers family has helped include Moffitt Cancer Center, St. Joseph’s Hospitals Foundation, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation programs and players’ charities, United Way, PARC, Hillsborough Education Foundation, MOSI, Villa Madonna Catholic School, AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida, Cornerstone Ministries and other faith-based organizations, Tampa Aids Network, MacDonald Training Center, Friends of Joshua House Foundation Inc., Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, Tampa Police Athletic League, Muscular Dystrophy Association through Publix Super Market Charities, the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation and numerous local PTAs.
Want to do something nice for others during Pin Chasers’ Selfless September?
- Every league night in September, Pin Chasers will sell 50/50 raffle tickets
to benefit The Bowlers to Veterans Link.
- The second weekend of September, buy two hours of bowling at Pin Chasers
and they will donate $5 to Big Brothers Big Sisters on your behalf.
- The third weekend of September, buy two hours of bowling, and
Pin Chasers will donate $5 to Apple a Day on your behalf.